This paper examines the effects of individuals' primary and multiple developmental relationships in a longitudinal study of the careers of lawyers. By juxtaposing the effects of the primary developmental relationship with those of individuals' sets or ‘constellations’ of developmental relationships, the present study lends insight into if and when these two perspectives on mentoring yield different results regarding the effects of mentoring on protégé career outcomes. The findings from the present study show that while the quality of one's primary developer affects short‐term career outcomes such as work satisfaction and intentions to remain with one's firm, it is the composition and quality of an individual's entire constellation of developmental relationships that account for long‐run protégé career outcomes such as organizational retention and promotion. Further, results from the present study provide evidence that the constellation perspective explains greater variance with respect to protégé career outcomes than does the primary or more traditional perspective on mentoring. Implications for research on mentoring, developmental relationships, and careers are discussed. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Organizational Behavior – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2001
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