Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Ever since Odysseus, King of Ithaca, left to fight in the Trojan War and entrusted his friend, Mentor, to care for and educate his son, academic mentors have guided, educated, trained, and encouraged protégés in their academic development. As with Mentor and his protégé, mentoring relationships evolve over time in a predictable pattern and certain behaviors are necessary to initiate and sustain a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship. There are numerous parallels between successful mentoring behaviors in the academic and business world, and this paper seeks to leverage those similarities to provide advice for academic mentors and their protégés. This paper describes the stages of a mentoring relationship, discusses behaviors that underlie each stage and presents a series of best practices that future academic mentors and protégés should seek to emulate. While specific activities vary by stage of the mentoring evolution, mentors and protégés should create successful relationships, be respectful of time expectations and demands, ensure that necessary advisement occurs, and be open to an increasingly deep and personal relationship. By understanding and applying these behaviors, academic mentors and protégés can learn from and extend the mentoring legacy of Gary Dickson.