Organisational memory and the propensity to mentor

Dunham, Annette and Burt, Christopher 2008, Organisational memory and the propensity to mentor, in ECKM 2008 : Proceedings of ECKM 2008 The 9th European Conference on Knowledge Management, [The conference], [Southampton, England], pp. 262-267.

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Title Organisational memory and the propensity to mentor
Author(s) Dunham, Annette
Burt, Christopher
Conference name European Conference on Knowledge Management. Conference (9th : 2008 : Southampton, England)
Conference location Southampton, England
Conference dates 6-7 Sept. 2008
Title of proceedings ECKM 2008 : Proceedings of ECKM 2008 The 9th European Conference on Knowledge Management
Editor(s) [Unknown]
Publication date 2008
Conference series European Conference on Knowledge Management Conference
Start page 262
End page 267
Total pages 6
Publisher [The conference]
Place of publication [Southampton, England]
Keyword(s) aging workforce
organisational memory
Summary In many countries, people are retiring earlier than ever before and the retirement of the baby boom generation over the next two decades further intensifies this trend. Accompanying this phenomenon is the potential loss of organisational knowledge and memory and with it, potential loss of the organisation's competitive advantage. Organisations, while recognising that older workers possess valuable organisational memory, seem to assume these same workers will readily divest themselves of their knowledge, if given the opportunity. Furthermore, offering experienced workers the opportunity to act as a mentor to pass on their knowledge is often mentioned in the management and related literature as a way of attracting and retaining these workers. While the relationships between age and the possession of organisational memory has been supported through age's positive relationship with organisational tenure and rank, past research on mentoring reveals a negative relationship between age and willingness to mentor. Employees, especially older workers in the possession of considerable organisational memory may, or may not be willing to divulge that information to others for a number of reasons. Their willingness to act as a mentor may be constrained by awareness of possible costs involved in the mentoring relationship. This paper investigates the relationship between an individual's estimated level of organisational knowledge and memory, and their inclination to mentor others. In doing so, it considers the expected costs and benefits of mentoring. It also investigates the role of mentoring in the psychological adjustment to retirement for older individuals, and discusses the rationale for a research agenda to address these issues and the likely variables of interest. The proposed research aims to go beyond the prescription of "mentoring others" as a general panacea for utilising the skills and experience of workers while ensuring the transfer of potentially threatened knowledge within organisations, by suggesting other motivations that may be operating when employees are invited to share or volunteer their prized knowledge.
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ISBN 9781905305537
Language eng
Field of Research 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category E1.1 Full written paper - refereed
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Faculty of Health
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