Supervisory mentoring: Does a female manager make a difference?

Authors: M. Lee Williams, Ph.D. and Victoria Nevin Locke


Research investigating the management styles of male and female supervisors is mixed. In an effort to clarify this research, the present study examined the interaction effect of gender of supervisor and gender of subordinate on perceived mentoring. Results revealed the least amount of mentoring occurred between female supervisors and female subordinates, but the greatest mentoring took place between female supervisors and male subordinates. Results were explained in terms of managerial experience and the double-bind of female managers. These findings challenge the traditional advice that female subordinates should seek female supervisors.