Mentoring and the tolerance of complexity

GARVEY, B. and ALRED, G. (2001). Mentoring and the tolerance of complexity. Futures, 33 (6), 519-530.

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This paper explores mentoring in the light of complexity theory and the premium placed upon knowledge in organisational viability. A key question is “what is the role of mentoring, as a developmental and knowledge creating process, in a complex environment?” There are two parts to the discussion. First, we explore complexity at work, and what it means for the individual. We link the central ideas of complexity theory with the notion of a ‘corporate curriculum’, an inclusive concept intended to capture the complex nature of learning at work, in all its variants. Secondly, we speculate on the contribution mentoring can make in complex organisations where employees are part of a knowledge economy by virtue of being knowledge producers and being engaged in learning at work. The environments in which we work are becoming more complex and mentoring is also complex. There is a synergy here. For people living in complexity where there are few rules, no right answers and no predictable outcomes, we suggest that mentoring can play a distinctive role in helping people to ‘tolerate’ complexity and remain effective.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
Identification Number:
Page Range: 519-530
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 23:30

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