Mentoring and succession management: an evaluative approach to the Strategic Collaboration Model.
Professional development (Forecasts and trends)
Business success (Methods)
Strategic planning (Business) (Evaluation)
Mentors (Methods)
Haynes, Ray K.
Ghosh, Rajashi
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Name: Review of Business Publisher: St. John's University, College of Business Administration Audience: General; Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business; Business, general Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 St. John's University, College of Business Administration ISSN: 0034-6454
Date: Wntr, 2008 Source Volume: 28 Source Issue: 2
Event Code: 010 Forecasts, trends, outlooks Computer Subject: Market trend/market analysis
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States

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This article applies a systems-oriented evaluation methodology to the Strategic Collaboration Model. The Strategic Collaboration Model is used to guide the development of mentoring-centered succession management programs. We provide a contextual discussion of mentoring and the model, and offer questions to assess the effectiveness of programs using the strategic collaboration model.


Contemporary organizations have implemented formal mentoring programs and others have acknowledged that mentoring is useful in facilitating personal and professional development of employees. Early mentoring research (Kram, 1983; Kram and Isabella, 1985; Levinson, Darrow, Klein, Levinson, and McKee, 1978) and relatively recent scholarly literature have identified mentoring as essential to fostering career development of employees (Burke, McKeen, and McKenna, 1993; Donaldson, Ensher, and Grant-Vallone, 2000). These studies, including the bulk of the mentoring literature, have mainly focused on individual development of the protege and the mentor. One area that has remained relatively unexplored is the role and efficacy of mentoring in succession management programs. This article addresses and explores mentoring's role in succession management programs by applying a systems approach evaluation to Wasburn and Crispo's (2006) Strategic Collaboration Model (SCM). The SCM is one of the few succession management models that incorporate mentoring as an essential mechanism in fostering leadership development and succession.

Organizational Mentoring

Historically, mentoring has played a significant role in the continuity and evolution of art, craft, and commerce (Murray and Owen, 1991). As a construct, mentoring is defined as a complex developmental and interpersonal relationship where personal support and career guidance are provided by a senior, more-experienced organizational member to a junior, less-experienced member of that organization (Carmin, 1988; Kram, 1985). Organizational mentoring has evolved and manifests itself in two forms: (a) informal mentoring and (b) formal mentoring. Formal mentoring can be defined as involving all of the essential elements of mentoring. Its distinguishing characteristic, however, is that it is a program managed and supported by the organization. In contrast, informal mentoring is not managed by the organization and can be characterized as naturally occurring relationships based on attributes, attraction, and similar interests.

Pursuant to the mentoring literature, proteges derive psychosocial benefits such as increased self-esteem, strength of an interpersonal bond, confidence, identity and socialization (Ragins et al., 2000) and career-related benefits such as promotion, increased compensation, career development, and increased job satisfaction (Chao, Walz, and Gardner, 1992; Mullen, 1998; Ragins et al., 2000; Scandura and Schriesheim, 1994; Verdejo, 2002). Similarly, the individual benefits for the mentor include career revitalization, social recognition, personal satisfaction, increased power, leadership skill development, and supervisory and training ability development (Burke and McKeen, 1997; Messmer, 2003). At the organizational level, mentoring benefits include increased organizational commitment, employee retention, employee motivation, leadership development, improved organizational communication and productivity (Darwin, 2000; Hegstad, 1999; Ragins et al., 2000).

Contemporary organizations operate in an environment of constant change. These changes have impacted how organizations develop employees and future leaders (Caldwell and Carter, 1993). The practice of mentoring has evolved from the traditional one-on-one relationship to a constellation of mentoring relationships comprised of mentoring networks and/or developmental networks. An individual's developmental network is made up of the people who actively support the advancement of his or her career by providing developmental guidance (Higgins, 2000).

Succession Management

Succession management is defined as any effort designed to ensure the continued effective performance of an organization, division, department or work group by making provision for the development, replacement and strategic application of key people over time (Rothwell, 2000). As input to the succession management system, an organization usually identifies its existing competencies, related to both its leadership needs and the industry it competes in (Kramer, 1990; Butler and Roche-Tarry, 2002). Apart from the set of required competencies, the organization also collects data about the employees' career aspirations, interest areas, career mobility and developmental needs (Allison, 1993; Clark and Lyness, 1991). This information is then used by the organization to align individual career aspirations with organizational needs (Kramer, 1990; Butler and Roche-Tarry, 2002). Intervention such as coaching, mentoring, formal training, performance feedback and job rotation facilitate the skill acquisition that is required to meet the leadership needs of the organization (Beatty, Schneier, and Glenn, 1987).

Succession management contributes to the professional development of managers by exposing them to different developmental experiences such as task forces, job rotations, line-to-staff switches, and turnaround or fix-it assignments (Baldwin and Padgett, 1993; Buckner and Slavenski, 1994, McCauley et al., 1995). At the leadership level, executive succession helps organizations groom and select the next generation of leaders for more responsible positions. This ability to develop and deploy leadership capabilities and talents translates into a competitive edge for organizations (Ambastha and Momaya, 2004 as cited by Mathews, 2006). Organizations adopting formal succession management plans for their top managerial positions have reportedly experienced a higher return on investment than those who have not (Walker 1998 as cited by Huang, 2001).

Leadership Development, Mentoring and Succession Management

Leadership development is defined as an expansion of the collective capacity of organizational members to effectively assume leadership roles (McCauley and VanVelsor, 1998). Mentoring facilitates leadership development through role socialization, reduced feelings of isolation, professional development, increased job satisfaction, improved leadership skills and leadership capacity building (Browne-Ferrigno and Muth, 2004; Fagan and Walter, 1982; Scandura et al., 1996; Stott and Walker, 1992). Organizations using succession management programs engage in a process of continuous leadership development. Thus, it should be noted that mentoring and succession management are aimed at leadership development. Zey (1991) acknowledges this relationship between mentoring and succession management by noting that organizations sponsoring mentoring programs supplement their succession plans with the internal pool of groomed leaders. Zey (1991) also states that "Mentoring facilitates smooth transfer of the managerial reins from one generation of executives to the next." (p. 93).

Wilson and Elman (1990) notes that mentoring provides a structured system for strengthening and assuring continuity of organizational culture. This can be crucial at times of leadership succession, as leadership changes often require redefinition or modification of culture. Wilson and Elman (1990) also challenges the traditional view that mentoring is restricted to the indoctrination or inspiration of entry-level personnel. They propose that every hierarchical level in the organization entails socialization into a new and different subculture. Put another way, as an employee successively moves up to a first leadership position, and then continues up from one leadership position to the next, socialization and resocialization is required. Thus there is always a need for mentoring.

A Mentoring-Centered Model of Succession Management

Mentoring can be viewed as a means of increasing the effectiveness of succession management programs. Washburn and Crispo's (2006) Strategic Collaboration Model (SCM) incorporates mentoring as an essential element of succession management. The SCM is a phased and distinct model because it is mentoring-centered, and uses appreciative inquiry to help the organization and its succession candidates. The Appreciative Inquiry methodology is used to define and execute each phase of a succession management program. A hallmark characteristic of the Strategic Collaboration Model is that through Appreciative Inquiry, it considers the candidates' developmental needs and aligns these needs with the organization's future leadership needs. Exhibit 1 below shows the Strategic Collaboration Model (SCM).


Scriven (1967) has defined evaluation as judging the worth or merit of something. In line with this definition, we propose a systems-oriented approach to judging the worth or merit of SCM-based succession management programs. The SCM can be evaluated based upon the premise that organizations are complex open systems. Open systems have inputs, processes, outputs, and there is an exchange with the environment (Swanson, 1994). Moreover, a system is comprised of a series of interdependent components (Burke, 1980). We suggest that SCM-based succession management programs are essentially systems. Consequently, a systems-oriented evaluation would not only assess the efficacy of such programs but it would also permit us to determine what role mentoring and Appreciative Inquiry plays in succession management. Exhibit 2 below shows the application of a systems oriented approach to evaluating the Strategic Collaboration Model. The Preconditions, Strategic Collaboration Team formation, Interpersonal Skills Training, and Strategic Collaboration Contract parts of the SCM can be examined as inputs into the model. The Discovery, Design and Dream phases of the SCM can be examined as the process part of the model. Finally, the Delivery phase of the SCM can be examined as the outcome part of the model.

Generally, evaluations are used in business and industry to judge programs and products. Evaluations focused in the area of human resource development are conducted to judge the effectiveness of corporate training programs, to judge the effectiveness of performance appraisal feedback, and to evaluate and improve retention programs for younger employees (Fitzpatrick, Sanders and Worthen, 2004).

For purposes of evaluating the SCM, we recommend a process, or monitoring, study. Typically process or monitoring studies focus on whether the program is being implemented according to plan or model. The process or monitoring study of the efficacy of SCM-based succession management programs should be conducted using a management-oriented evaluation approach. The management-oriented evaluation is focused on providing information to the decision makers in corporate settings, and is premised on the assumption that evaluative information is essential to good decision making (Fitzpatrick et al., 2004). We recommend the use of Stufflebeam's (1971) context, input, process, and product (CIPP) evaluation. The CIPP evaluation can be conducted as a management-oriented evaluation, and is based upon the basic principle of an open system (input, process, and output). The CIPP evaluation is capable of guiding decision making and addressing accountability (Fitzpatrick et al., 2004).

The CIPP evaluation is useful because it helps the evaluator generate questions about the SCM in a systems-oriented manner. The CIPP model essentially provides for four different types of evaluations of SCM-based succession management programs:

1) the context evaluation, which helps define the focus and objectives of the evaluation. In this instance, the evaluative focus is on the mentoring-centered SCM, and specifically the role of mentoring in succession management programs.

2) The input evaluation focuses on the resources directed towards the program. In this instance, the focus is on knowing what kind of human financial and other resources are directed towards the succession management program.

3) The process evaluation essentially examines the operations of the program to determine what is working well, what is not working, and what can be improved.

4) The product evaluation is focused on the outcomes or results of the program. In other words, this helps to determine whether the succession management program has achieved its stated objectives, and whether the succession program is effective enough to warrant continued use.

Exhibit 3 shows how the CIPP evaluation could be applied to the SCM-based succession management programs. Additionally it provides evaluative questions that correspond to each CIPP evaluation. Taken together, these evaluations will yield evaluative information that would enable organizational developers and program managers to understand, develop and improve mentoring-centered succession management programs.


The renewal and transition of leadership in organizations is necessary and vital to maintain competitive advantage. Mentoring-centered succession management programs have been developed to facilitate this process. The systems approach evaluation proposed in this article will help organizations to determine the role of mentoring and the efficacy of the SCM and its related succession management programs.


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Ray K. Haynes, Indiana University, School of Education, Department of Instructional Systems Technology

Rajashi Ghosh, University of Louisville, College of Education and Human Development, Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education
Exhibit 3. Applying the CIPP Evaluation to the Strategic Collaboration

Evaluation Type           Evaluation Focus and Questions

Context            Mentoring as primary developmental process in
                   succession Planning:

                 * What role(s) does the mentor play?

                 * Does the mentor listen effectively?

                 * Does the mentor provide effective feedback?

                 * Does the mentor manage team conflict effectively?

                 * How is feedback given?

Input              Determining the resources directed at the program:

                 * Is the organization's leadership committed to
                   succession management?

                 * Do the organization's leaders serve as mentors?

                 * Do the organization's leaders communicate that
                   succession management is an integral part of their
                   operational strategy?

                 * Have financial resources been committed to the

                 * Have human resources (program manager) been committed
                   to the program?

                 * Have mentors been formally identified?

                 * Have proteges been formally identified?

                 * Has the strategic collaboration team been identified?

                 * Has a curriculum been developed for training mentors
                   mentors and proteges to be effective in each role?

                 * Have contracts and codes of conduct governing
                   mentoring relationships been developed?

Process            Examining program operations:

                 * Is there a formal process for monitoring mentoring
                   relationships in the strategic collaboration team?

                 * Are contingencies planned for compatibility issues in
                   the strategic collaboration team?

                 * Have individual and team competencies been identified
                   and shared amongst the team?

                 * How do we leverage competencies to meet
                   organizational needs?

                 * Are initiatives identified and executed based upon
                   competencies and organizational needs?

Product            Examining program outcomes: Is a mentoring-centered
                   succession management program functioning in the

                 * Has the next generation of organizational leaders
                   been identified groomed?

                 * Does each potential organizational leader have a
                   career development action plan?
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