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The Role of Core Self-Evaluation in Mentoring Initiation and Job Satisfaction

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Student name:

Mak Lai Ting, Tinnie

Student ID:


Hong Kong Baptist University

Master of Human Resources Management

HRM 7040  Training and Development

Individual Assignment

The role of core self-evaluation in mentoring initiation and job satisfaction


This study investigates the direct effects of core self-evaluation (CSE) on mentoring initiation (developmental support seeking behavior) and job satisfaction (career outcomes). To examine the relationships, an online survey was conducted by 147 employees who had no less than two years of working experience in private or public organization, and a number of literatures have been reviewed in order to provide more evidences. Findings illustrate that CSE is positively and significantly related to mentoring initiation and job satisfaction, and mentoring initiation is also positively and significantly related to job satisfaction. It is suggested that mangers should pay more attention to those with low CSE and assign formal mentoring to them for their career development. While for employees with high CSE, complicated tasks can be assigned for their better job satisfaction.


Career development is an important part of our career life. In Hong Kong, most of the companies provide training and development program in form of classroom learning, on-the job training or e-learning to their employees, targeting to meet their needs of personal and career growth. It is not difficult to find the mentoring relationship among workplace, whereas mentors provide career-related and psychosocial functions to mentees (Kram, 1985). However, apart from formal mentoring program assigned by the company, some of the employees may attempt to initiate a mentoring relationship (Turban & Dougherty, 1994). They believe that mentors could provide them with valuable information and social connection, therefore they proactively seek for a possible mentor to provide career and personal guidance (Kram, 1985). Research has further illustrated that mentored individuals possess a higher level of career and job satisfaction, promotions, higher incomes, and lower turnover intentions when compared to nonmentored employees (Kram, 1985).

Regardless of the benefits of mentoring received, there are still a number of factors that have an impact on employees’ career development and success. It is interesting to study whether individual differences, in particular personality characteristics influence the mentoring initiation behavior and employees’ job satisfaction. Core self-evaluation is chosen as the personality characteristics in this study, because it consists of individual’s perception and shows how one’s reaction to the environment (Judge, Erez, Bono and Thoresen, 2003).

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between core self-evaluation, mentoring initiation behavior and job satisfaction. Several hypotheses supported with literatures are developed, whereas data was collected through an online survey. The findings illustrate the correlation and statistical significance between variables, providing a more in-depth exploration on the issue. Base on this study, further implications in the workplace for the managers and employees will also be discussed.

Literature Review

According to Judge, Locke and Durham (1997), core self- evaluations (CSE) is part of a personality characteristic, representing how individuals perceive themselves, other people and the universe. It is a higher-order personality trait that consisting of self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, neuroticism and locus of control (Judge et al, 2003). Self-esteem refers to the basic appraisal of individual on the self-worth. Generalized self-efficacy is the fundamental ability of individual to cope with challenges and their self-confidence to perform successfully. Neuroticism also known as emotional stability, people with high level of neuroticism represents they tend to have good emotional adjustment and experience positive affects. Locus of control is the people’s belief on controlling things over their life. Generally, individuals with high CSE will have a more positive self-concept and are more motivated.

In the workplace, employees with high CSE possess a more positive evaluation on themselves, they appear to have more confidence in their capability in goal accomplishment and are eager to participate in challenging tasks. As Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz, and Lima (2004) stated that protégés with a positive mentoring experience received more challenging assignments and opportunity for exposure and visibility within the company. Therefore, it is expected that individuals with high CSE are likely to initiate more mentoring relationships.

On the other hand, employees with low CSE who lack confidence, they do not believe that they have the ability to adopt the upcoming challenges which may increase the level of nervousness. At a result, they are unwilling to initiate the mentoring relationships (Turban & Dougherty, 1994). It is believe that CSE is related to mentoring initiation behavior.

Hypothesis 1: Core self- evaluation is positively related to mentoring initiation.

In addition, Judge, Erez, and Bono (1998) also argue that individuals with high CSE are more motivated to perform their jobs, in which motivation is a major determinant of job performance. Judge and Bono (2001) further demonstrate the four lower-order traits which comprise CSE are related to job satisfaction. For example, when there is an adverse situation, employees with high CSE think that they are able to cope with difficulties and control over things. They are more persistent with a positive attitude in face of failure and are easily satisfied from their job. However, those with low CSE poorly think of themselves, and hardly believe they could perform successfully or being negatively emotional whenever there are changes, in turn, low CSE is negatively related to job satisfaction. Therefore, it is suggested CSE is related to job satisfaction.

Hypothesis 2: Core self- evaluation is positively related to job satisfaction.

People attempt to initiate mentoring relations are likely to receive more mentoring than the individuals who do not possess such behavior (Dougherty and Dreher, 2007). With greater career related and psychosocial support such as mentor protection, job knowledge, challenging assignment, visibility and counseling, protégés are supposed to be more confident in performing the task and hence have greater job satisfaction. Therefore, it is suggested mentoring initiation is related to job satisfaction.



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