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Relating Mentor Type and Mentoring Behaviors to Academic Medicine Faculty Satisfaction and Productivity at One Medical School

Shollen, S. Lynn PhD; Bland, Carole J. PhD; Center, Bruce A. PhD; Finstad, Deborah A.; Taylor, Anne L. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000381
Research Reports

Purpose: To examine relationships among having formal and informal mentors, mentoring behaviors, and satisfaction and productivity for academic medicine faculty.

Method: In 2005, the authors surveyed full-time faculty at the University of Minnesota Medical School to assess their perceptions of variables associated with job satisfaction and productivity. This analysis focused on perceptions of mentoring as related to satisfaction with current position and productivity (articles published in peer-reviewed journals [article production] and role as a primary investigator [PI] or a co-PI on a grant/contract).

Results: Of 615 faculty, 354 (58%) responded. Satisfied faculty were not necessarily productive, and vice versa. Outcomes differed somewhat for mentor types: Informal mentoring was more important for satisfaction, and formal mentoring was more important for productivity. Regardless of mentor type, the 14 mentoring behaviors examined related more to satisfaction than productivity. Only one behavior—serves as a role model—was significantly, positively related to article production. Although participants reported that formal and informal mentors performed the same mentoring behaviors, mentees were more satisfied or productive when some behaviors were performed by formal mentors.

Conclusions: The results emphasize the importance of having both formal and informal mentors who perform mentoring behaviors associated with satisfaction and productivity. The results provide a preliminary indication that mentor types and specific mentoring behaviors may have different effects on satisfaction and productivity. Despite the differences found for some behaviors, it seems that it is more essential that mentoring behaviors be performed by any mentor than by a specific type of mentor.

Dr. Shollen is assistant professor of leadership, Department of Leadership and American Studies, Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia.

Dr. Bland was assistant dean for faculty development, professor of family medicine and community health, and director, Family Medicine Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Center is director, Office of Research Consultation and Services, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ms. Finstad is coordinator, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Taylor is vice dean for academic affairs, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and John Lindenbaum Professor of Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: This study was approved as exempt by the University of Minnesota institutional review board.

Previous presentations: Data from this study were previously presented in less refined form at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education; Louisville, Kentucky; November 2007.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Shollen, Christopher Newport University, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Luter 215, Newport News, VA 23606; telephone: (757) 594-7557; e-mail:

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges