Learner Paper: The Evolution of Leadership and Mentorship from 1975 – Present

Kelly McInnes

Kelly McInnes, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

kelly mcinnesIntroduction

The purpose of this paper is to review the evolution of leadership and the evolution of mentorship as it has occurred over the last 34 years and provide speculation about the next phase of mentorship in relation to the evolution of leadership.

Both leadership and mentorship are constructs that have been around for a very long time. Mentorship can be traced back to the figure portrayed in Homer’s Odyssey (Kram, 1988; Ragins & Kram, 2007). When Odysseus sailed against Troy, Mentor was the wise and faithful advisor entrusted to protect his son Telemachus. Leadership can be traced back to Plato and his ideas about philosopher-kings, the influences on rulers and responses of followers (Burns, J.M., 1978; Burns, J.S., 2000). While this very early history is interesting, I have delimited my investigation in this paper to the last 34 years which reflects evolution of these constructs from 1975 to present. I have delimited by investigation in this way because of a seminal piece of work, in each of these fields, that was published during this time frame. In the field of leadership, James MacGregor Burns (1978) published a seminal work entitled Leadership that has been credited with significantly shifting how scholars thought about leadership theory. Specifically, it shifted thinking on leadership theory away from what was described as two-factor theory focused on leadership behavior to theories focused on relationships between leaders and followers. Seven years later, Kathy Kram (1985) first published her seminal work on mentoring entitled Mentoring at Work that provided an initial body of knowledge that helped scholars begin to conceptualize mentoring. I am interested in the evolution of leadership and mentorship since the publication of these two important works.

I will begin this paper by exploring definitions of leadership and mentorship; this will be followed by an overview of the evolution of leadership and the evolution of mentorship since the publication of the seminal works by J.M. Burns (1978) and Kram (1985); and, finally, I will offer a suggestion for how mentorship might evolve based on the evolution of leadership which I believe is more advanced.

Defining Leadership and Mentorship

One of the challenges that has plagued both leadership and mentorship is a definitive definition of the construct. Schein (2004) stated that the study of leadership thus far had resulted in, “a frustrating diffusion of concepts and ideas of what leadership is really all about” (p. 1). In a similar vein, Jacobi (1991) found the literature related to mentoring, “offers numerous definitions, some of which conflict” (p. 505). A number of scholars have observed that there are consequences to the lack of consensus on definitions of these constructs. Jacobi (1991) stated, “the result of this definitional vagueness is a continued lack of clarity about the antecedents, outcomes, characteristic and mediators of mentoring” (p. 505). Similarly, J.M. Burns (1978) acknowledged, “[w]e fail to grasp the essence of leadership that is relevant to the modern age and hence we cannot agree even on the standards by which to measure, recruit, and reject it” (pp. 1 – 2). And more recently, Eby, Rhodes, and Allen (2007) pointed out, “varying definitions create problems in drawing conclusions across studies” (p. 9).

While scholars continue to struggle to define leadership and mentorship, J.S. Burns (1996) observed that some leadership scholars avoided dealing with definitional challenges by simply not defining the construct. Out of curiosity, I did a quick scan of the notes from the International Leadership Association 10th Anniversary Global Conference I attended in November 2008. At this conference, I attended eight sessions, one interactive roundtable discussion, and one keynote related to leadership and not once was leadership defined. This is interesting because a number of sessions I attended were directly related to the history and theory of leadership; I would have expected these sessions, in particular, to offer a definition of leadership because they were considered academic in nature. While I have not observed this phenomenon in the workplace, mentorship literature with which I am most familiar, Johnson, Rose, and Schlosser (2007) observed “in some student-faculty mentoring research, no operational definition of mentoring is provided” (p. 50). Given this, I would suggest that while the “avoidance” behavior described by J.S. Burns (1996) is evident in mentorship literature, it is perhaps not as prevalent as it is in the leadership literature.

To explore this definitional challenge for myself, I turned to my own reading and research. Definitions taken from some of the leadership books in my personal library yielded several views and definitions of leadership. DePree (1989) viewed leadership as service and stated, “[l]eadership is a concept of owing certain things to the institution. It is a way of thinking about institutional heirs, a way of thinking about stewardship as contrasted with ownership” (p. 12). Kouzes and Posner (2003) believed leadership was a matter of the heart and stated, “at the heart of leadership is caring. Without caring leadership has no purpose” (p. xi). Schein (2004) linked leadership to culture and suggested that leadership is “the creation and management of culture” (p. 2). Even this small sample yielded different views and definitions of the construct of leadership.

Similarly, two articles related to mentoring that I recently read offered two quite different definitions of mentorship. Savage, Karp, and Logue (2004) defined mentorship as “a process in which one person, usually of superior rank and outstanding achievement, guides the development of an entry-level individual” (p. 21). Girves, Zepeda, and Gwathmey (2005) defined mentorship as “an intentional process that is supportive, nurturing, and protective, providing orchestrated or structured experiences to facilitate growth” (p. 453). In both articles, mentorship is defined as a process made up of actions intended to lead to a particular outcome. In the first definition, the outcome is clear— develop the junior. In the second definition, the outcome is more nebulous—facilitate growth. As well, the first definition clearly reflects the type of relationship that can be called mentorship and it is dyadic and hierarchical. The second definition is silent on the type of relationship, but clearly suggests what the nature of the relationship should be: nurturing and protective. Again, even this small sample reflected the lack of definitional clarity of mentorship.

Not only are there different (and sometimes conflicting) definitions, but leadership and mentorship scholars have commented on the sheer number of definitions that exist in the literature. In a review of leadership literature, Rost (1991, as cited in J.S. Burns, 1996) found “221 definitions of leadership included in 487 scholarly works he reviewed” (p. 149). In her review of mentoring literature in the fields of education, management and psychology, Jacobi (1991) identified 15 different definitions of mentorship, each capturing a slightly different essence.

For the purpose of this paper, I have decided that I will use the definitions of leadership and mentorship, as proposed by J.M. Burns (1978) and Kram (1988) as the starting point, recognizing that as these constructs evolved, so too did the definitions. J.M. Burns (1978) stated, “[L]eadership over human beings is exercised when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political, psychological, and other resources so as to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers” (p. 18). Kram (1988) defined mentorship as “a relationship between a young adult and an older, more experienced adult that helps the younger individual learn to navigate in the adult world and the world of work” (p. 2). Having defined these constructs, I now turn to the evolution of leadership and mentorship.

Evolution of Leadership

I have selected three works that I believe reflect the evolution of leadership from 1975 to the present. J.M. Burns (1978) introduced transactional and transforming leadership; Bass (1985) continued to develop transforming leadership which resulted in a theory of transformational leadership; and, most recently, Hatala and Hatala (2005) have developed a model of Integrative Leadership based on integral theory. It is the work of these scholars that I will review in this section of the paper.

Transactional and Transforming Leadership

In 1978, James MacGregor Burns described a new theory of leadership in his book, Leadership. Gill, Levine, and Pitt (1998) stated, “James MacGregor Burns’ seminal book on leadership was a watershed in our understanding” (p. 47). J.S. Burns (2000) referred to J.M. Burns’ book as “a major event in the development of leadership theory” (p. 52). In my own review of the literature, I noticed that many articles related to leadership reference James MacGregor Burns’ book Leadership and his concepts of transactional and transforming leadership. The significance of this work is that it shifted leadership theory away from focusing on behavior of leaders in relation to followers to focusing on the relationship between leaders and followers; a subtle, but important distinction. Bass (1993) stated “Burns directed the significance of leadership to the development of followers’ and their followers’ organizations” (p. 376).

In his work, J.M. Burns (1978) identified two leadership styles, transactional leadership and transforming leadership, both of which described the relationship between leaders and followers. J.M. Burns (1978) stated, “the relations of most leaders and followers are transactional—leaders approach followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another” (p. 4). This type of relationship meets the basic needs of the follower. In order to clarify my understanding of transactional leadership, I thought about it in the context of Maslow’s hierarchy. In that particular context, I would suggest transactional leadership primarily meets physiological and safety needs. The transforming leader on the other hand, “looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower” (J.M. Burns, 1978, p. 4). As I considered transforming leadership in context of Maslow’s hierarchy, I thought this style of leadership would primarily meet love and esteem needs. In both transactional and transforming relationships, the follower is providing a skill or service, but I believe the motivation is different. Another way to look at the distinction between transactional and transforming leadership is to consider the locus of the motivation. In a transactional context, followers are motivated by external rewards, such as money or safety. In a transforming context, followers are motivated by internal rewards, such as a desire to do well. J.S. Burns (2000) summed up the difference between transactional and transforming leadership as follows: transactional leadership is characterized by exchange and transforming leadership is characterized by change for the better (p. 52).

Transformational Leadership

Bernard Bass was influenced by the work of James MacGregor Burns, specifically, his work on transforming leadership. Bass built on this idea which resulted in a new theory of transformational leadership he described in Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations (1985). At the heart of the theory of transformational leadership is the notion that leadership goes beyond getting the work done (transactional leadership) and maintaining quality relationships with followers (transforming leadership). Bass (1985) stated, “[t]he transformational leader motivates us to do more than we originally expected to do” (p. 31). As we began to see in J.M. Burns’ leadership work, the motivation of the follower is what shifts in each context. If I return to Maslow’s hierarchy one last time, I suggest that in a transformational context, followers are motivated by esteem and self-actualization needs which tap into an individual’s desire to be valued and realize their potential.

In addition to his work on the theory of transformational leadership, Bass (1985) also developed a number of components or dimensions of transformational leadership. The dimensions of transformational leadership that emerged from the research conducted by Bass (1985) were:

(1) charismatic leadership (leaders aroused enthusiasm, faith, loyalty, and pride and trust in themselves and their aims; (2) individualized consideration (leaders maintained a developmental and individualistic orientation toward subordinates); and (3) intellectual stimulation (leaders enhanced the problem-solving capabilities of their associates). (p. 33)

Bass and Avolio (1994) continued to develop the model of transformational leadership and their work resulted in four characteristics and behaviors transformational leaders display in order to achieve results. These have become known as the “Four I’s”: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Bass & Avolio, 1994, p. 3). The most notable addition to Bass’ 1985 work was that of inspirational motivation which Bass and Avolio (1994) defined as “providing meaning and challenge to their followers’ work” (p. 3). Gill, Levine, and Pitt (1998) described inspirational motivation as “articulating exciting possibilities” (p. 53).

Bass (1985) viewed transactional leadership and transformational leadership as two continua and recognized that leaders utilized both at different times and in different amounts. Yammarino (1993) noted that Bass “went on to articulate what is now called the ‘augmentation effect’—transactional leadership provides the base for effective leadership and performance at expected standards, while transformational leadership provides the add-on for superlative leadership and performance beyond expectations” (p. 381).

J.M. Burns (1978) shifted leadership theory from the behavior of leaders to relationships between leaders and followers, but it was Bass (1985) who extended leadership theory to contemplate the needs of followers in the relationship. The work of both J.M. Burns (1978) and Bass (1985) has “subsequently been used as the basis of research, such as that of, for example, Warren Bennis, Rosabeth Kanter, and Judy B. Rosener” (Owens & Valesky, 2007, p. 281).

Integrative Leadership

While there is not a direct line from the work of J.M. Burns (1978) and Bass (1985) to an integral theory of leadership, the very nature of integral theory provides the link to previous work. The very first session I attended at the International Leadership Association 10th Anniversary Global Conference was called Leadership Development: Emerging Possibilities from Rich Traditions and it introduced me to the construct of leadership from a new theoretical lens; that of integral theory. I was intrigued by this theory because it spoke to the notion that there is a kernel of truth in all theories and what is missing is a unifying approach. Reams (2005) stated the goal of integral theory is “to contextualize the ‘truth’ about everything—that is, to show the domain of validity of any theory—its truth and limitations, as well as the relationship of the theory to other theories” (p. 119). While apparently integral theory can be applied to virtually anything, I was interested in its application to leadership.

Volckmann (conference presentation, November 13, 2008) indicated that integral theory of leadership is based, in part, on an integral theory of consciousness proposed by Wilber (1997). Wilber (1997) suggested that the “science of consciousness” consisted of a number of schools of theory and research such as cognitive science, neuropsychology, and eastern and contemplative traditions. He also believed that each school had something valuable to offer; thus, what was required was a model that could incorporate the essential elements of each school (pp. 71–72). In order to help understand his theory, Wilber (1997) developed a four-quadrant model with each quadrant representing one part of the whole. Reams (2005) adapted Table 1 from Wilber (1997).

Reams (2005) stated, “the holistic principle underlying the integral model shows up here as a fundamental interconnectedness” (p. 120). This is important because individuals have a tendency to focus on one quadrant, which causes them to miss or ignore the value of the other quadrants. This can be observed in academia where scholars become experts in one area; in organizations where units specialize and become siloed and fragmented from the rest of the organization; and, in life where attention to one dimension can manifest as physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual illness. Hatala and Hatala (2005) suggested the Four Quadrant Model “is an elegant and integral way of discussing objective and subjective, structure and culture, body and soul, to capture four essential perspectives” (p. 66). As I learned about integral theory, I found myself thinking about the concepts of appreciation and acknowledgement; integral theory appreciates and acknowledges different perspectives and appreciates and acknowledges that multiple perspectives ultimately all contribute to the whole. I am happy to have found a theory that allows me to appreciate and acknowledge my prior learning and encourages me to integrate it with new learning.


Table 1: The Four Quadrant Model (adapted from Wilber, 1997, p. 3)

The approach Wilber (1997) took to his study of consciousness is similar to the approach Hatala and Hatala (2005) took to their study of leadership. Hatala and Hatala (2005) stated:

Our search led us first through the past 100 years of leadership development literature, then through 300 years of scientific research, then through 3,000 years of wisdom and mystic traditions…Our search resulted in an evolving integrative philosophy, uncovering what we feel is the foundational model that gives rise to all other life and leadership models. (p. xxi)

This search resulted in a framework called Integrative Leadership which Hatala and Hatala (2005) defined as “a wholistic approach to leading oneself and others in a reflective, conscious, thoughtful and responsive way” (p. 5). Staying true to the underlying principle of integral theory, Hatala and Hatala (2005) built a model that encompassed multiple perspectives. Hatala and Hatala (2005) stated: “developing a natural capacity to see multiple perspectives – on any given subject, object, problem, situation or decision – is essential for successfully walking the path of integrative life and leadership” (p. 65). Hatala (2008) used the shorthand 4-3-2-1 to describe their Integrative Leadership Model, where four represents the four domains of intelligence; three represents three levels of awareness; two reflects our ability and power to choose; and one reflects our ultimate integration or oneness.

4-3-2-1 Integrative Leadership Model

The four domains of intelligence are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I will attempt to briefly describe each of these in the context of Integrative Leadership. Physical intelligence reflects the view of body, mind, and soul. From an integral perspective, the body is the place where our soul resides until it is released through death or decline of the body (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 72). Mental intelligence reflects the view of mind. From an integral perspective mind is not localized in the brain although it does inhabit the body. An integrative view suggests that mind can access information beyond ourselves, but to do so requires reflection and awareness (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 75). Emotional intelligence reflects awareness of sensations and feelings. Integrative Leadership focuses on cultivating awareness of emotions in such a way that they awaken the heart (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 87). Finally, spiritual intelligence reflects the Divine nature that is present, but largely unacknowledged. Living in integration means being aware of the sacred presence in life, experiencing or acknowledging it and then acting authentically. While the notion of multiple intelligences is not new to me, thinking about intelligences in this new way presented a challenge. As I have reflected on these four intelligences, I believe I have been caught up in the mechanistic and organic paradigms that are still prevalent in our organizations and our society.

Hatala and Hatala (2005) described three paradigms: the mechanistic, the organic, and the holistic. The mechanistic paradigm is one in which people are viewed as machines, knowledge is power, rules govern people and activities, and the leadership style is transactional (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 54). In the organic paradigm people are viewed as human beings, knowledge is transformed into understanding, best practices govern people and activities, and the leadership style is transformational (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 55). Finally, in the holistic paradigm people are viewed as spiritual beings, understanding becomes wisdom through reflection, universal principles govern people and activities, and the leadership style is transcendent (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 56). Hatala and Hatala (2005) recognized that all of us have the three paradigms within us at various stages of awareness or development. To determine the dominant paradigm in my life, I did as Hatala and Hatala (2005) suggested and thought about where I focused my attention. Was my time spent focusing on the external or the internal? Somewhat sadly, I realized that I am caught up in the mechanistic and organic paradigms because a lot of my attention is externally focused. I believe that only as I do the internal work necessary to change my paradigm to incorporate a holistic view will I truly come to understand the four intelligences.

The three levels of awareness described by Hatala and Hatala (2005) are the conscious, subconscious, and superconscious levels. At level I awareness (conscious) the understanding of self, others and the world is very literal. Hatala and Hatala (2005) suggested “if there are moments of happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment within this level, they are fleeting and temporal, requiring more adventures and more stimulation to maintain mental interest” (p. 127). At level II awareness (subconscious) things, are seen in dualities or paradoxes. Hatala and Hatala (2005) suggested that individuals might stay at this level of awareness if they are “living an Ideal that provides personal satisfaction, achievement and gratification” (p. 128). At level III awareness (superconscious), individuals understand the interconnectedness and unity of things. Hatala and Hatala (2005) stated, “Level III is the realm that informs enlightened leaders who are inspired to make a difference and to change a paradigm or world view” (p. 131). Level three is neither transactional nor transformational, but is transcendent which represents a shift to higher-order consciousness.

The final two pieces in the model reflect an individual’s ability and power (will) to choose their path. In Integrative Leadership, “the final question then becomes: ‘What are you willing and not willing to do in your personal process of integration?’” (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 134) where integration is the call to oneness. Hatala and Hatala (2005) stated “Integrative Leadership is about seeking to understand and experience oneness with all four domains of intelligence and all three levels of our awareness, for as one of us gets better, through the principle of resonance, so do we all” (p. 131).

Employing the four-quadrant model, Hatala and Hatala (2005) found the following perspectives most useful in developing their model: intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, and organization. Of these, they believed the intrapersonal was the first and most important because “all meaningful change begins with the individual, then group, and then the organization, community and nation” (p. 66). Intrapersonal perspectives include all aspects of the 4-3-2-1 model.

Integrative leadership represents another fundamental shift in leadership theory from transactional to transformational to transcendent. Hatala and Hatala (2005) described these three processes as follows: transactional is concerned with the physical and mental; transformational is concerned with the heart; and transcendental is concerned with the soul (p. 165). The process of moving from transactional to transcendent begins by identifying “who and what you truly are” (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 173).

This brings my overview of the evolution of leadership to completion. I now turn to the evolution of mentorship.

Evolution of Mentorship

In this section of the paper, I will discuss two models that I believe reflect the evolution of mentorship over the last 30 years. Mentorship was originally viewed as a dyadic relationship between an older and younger individual (Kram, 1988). This view prevailed for approximately ten years until Higgins and Kram (2001) reconceptualized mentorship as a number of developmental relationships.

Mentorship as a Dyadic Relationship

Kram (1988) is one of the most widely cited references in literature related to mentoring. Dougherty, Turban, and Haggard (2007) stated that Kram’s book “is probably the most widely cited piece by mentoring scholars with over 275 citations to date” (p. 142). The research program undertaken by Kram (1988), “involved in-depth interview study of relationships between younger and older managers in a corporate setting” (p. 4) and resulted in a body of knowledge that helped scholars begin to conceptualize mentoring and encouraged a proliferation of research in what was then an emerging topic for academic inquiry. In particular, Kram (1988) contributed to the definition of mentorship, identification of the components for mentorship, as well as phases of the relationship, and appreciation of the complexities of this particular relationship. In this section of the paper, I will highlight the components of mentorship because I intend to build on this concept in the next section of the paper.

Kram (1988) defined mentoring functions as “those aspects of a developmental relationship that enhance the individual’s growth and advancement” (p. 22). Career functions were identified as “those aspects of the relationship that enhance learning the ropes and preparing for advancement in the organization” (Kram, 1988, p. 22). Kram (1988) identified five activities associated with career functions: sponsorship, exposure-and-visibility, coaching, protection, and challenging assignments (p. 23). Psychosocial functions were identified as “those aspects of a relationship that enhance a sense of competence, clarity of identity, and effectiveness in a professional role” (Kram, 1988, p. 22). Kram (1988) identified four activities associated with psychosocial functions: role modeling, acceptance-and-confirmation, counseling, and friendship (p. 23).

The activities associated with career functions share three characteristics. First, the activities are possible by virtue of the senior person’s experience, rank, and influence in the organization. Second, the activities help the junior person understand how the organization works, gain exposure, and obtain promotions. Finally, the activities help the senior person build respect from colleagues, as well as garner future support from those he has mentored (Kram, 1988, p. 25). If I put this in the context of leadership, this appears to me to be similar to a transactional relationship between a leader and follower. The follower (protégé) requires help learning the ropes and preparing for advancement and the leader (mentor) is interested in respect and future support; it is a quid-pro-quo relationship. The activities associated with psychosocial functions, however, rely on the quality of the interpersonal relationship (Kram, 1988, p. 32). Again, in the context of leadership, this appears to me to be similar to a transforming relationship where it is the quality of the relationship that is the defining feature.

Kram (1988) concluded that a hierarchical relationship that has provided both career and psychosocial functions best approximate a true mentor relationship (p. 43). However, she also acknowledged that traditional one-to-one mentoring relationships that provide the complete array of career and psychosocial outcomes were rare. In fact, Kram (1988) introduced the notion of relationship constellation to acknowledge that individuals engage in a variety of developmental relationships. The constellation included mentors as defined by Kram (1988) as well as peers, subordinates, supervisors, friends outside of work, and family members.

Mentorship as a Developmental Relationship

Higgins and Kram (2001) extended the original idea of constellations (Kram, 1988) and reconceptualized mentorship as something more than a single relationship; a new approach they referred to as a development network perspective. Higgins and Kram (2001) defined an individual’s developmental network as “the set of people a protégé names as taking an active interest in and action to advance the protégé’s career by providing developmental assistance” (p. 268). The concept of developmental networks differs in several ways from the original concept of mentorship outlined by Kram (1988). First, a developmental network acknowledges the possibility of a number of concurrent relationships; second, it contemplates developmental relationships outside of the organization; and, third, it does not specify that development relationships be hierarchical. Higgins and Kram (2001) stated, “mentoring—that is, the provision of career and psychosocial support—is still of primary interest, but who provides such support and how such support is provided are now more in question” (p. 267).

In contemplating who provides such support, the literature has considered this question from the interpersonal and group perspectives. Mentorship began as a dyad (Kram, 1988) and evolved into a number of concurrent developmental relationships (Higgins and Kram, 2001). I suggest the next phase of mentorship will focus on a different kind of relationship—a relationship with oneself that is the focus of the intrapersonal perspective and the individual/interior quadrant. It is to an exploration of this concept that I now turn.

Integrative Mentorship

There are a number of similarities between the evolution of leadership and the evolution of mentorship. For example, in both there has been a shift away from transactional relationships to transformational relationships. Hatala and Hatala (2005) described another shift in leadership from transformational to transcendent, and I believe that this could be the next phase for mentorship. I am also confident that integral theory could be applied to mentorship in the same way that it has been applied to leadership.

Context for Integrative Mentorship

Mentoring scholars are just beginning to contemplate the relationship between mentorship and leadership. Godshalk and Sosik (2007) claimed, “researchers have begun to identify the similar developmental behaviours, functions and outcomes between mentoring and leaderships styles” (p. 149). As I learned about integral theory and Integral Leadership, I was convinced that a fundamental interconnectedness between mentorship and leadership existed. Given this, the model of Integrative Mentorship I suggest in this paper is directly and explicitly linked to the model of Integrative Leadership developed by Hatala and Hatala (2005), and I draw extensively on their work in my model of Integrative Mentorship.

Definition of Integrative Mentorship

Given the definitional challenges that have plagued mentorship, I wanted to define, as clearly as possible, the construct of Integrative Mentorship. In order to develop a definition, I began with the definition of Integrative Leadership which is “a wholistic approach to leading oneself and others in a reflective, conscious, thoughtful and responsive way” (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 5). I also returned to the mentorship literature and the prevailing question of who provides developmental support and how (Higgins & Kram, 2001). With this in mind, I have defined Integrative Mentorship as a wholistic approach to developing oneself in a reflective, conscious, thoughtful, and responsive way. I believe this definition captures the wholistic component which is central to integral theory (and Integrative Leadership) and, addresses the question of who provides the support (the individual) and how (in a reflective, conscious thoughtful and responsive way). This definition reflects the intrapersonal work that helps the individual identify who and what they truly are.

Having defined the construct of Integrative Mentorship, I now turn to contemplation of the mentoring functions within this model.

Components of Integrative Mentorship

Kram (1988) identified mentoring functions as “those aspects of a developmental relationship that enhance both the individual’s growth and advancement” (p. 22). I suggest that mentoring functions in an integral model would be identified as those aspects of a developmental relationship with one’s self that facilitate the choice to “know thyselves” and “integrate thyselves”. I refer to “thyselves” in recognition that there are layers to the Self, which I will discuss in greater detail.

Hatala and Hatala (2005) identified seven elements of learning that are part of the process of becoming an Integrative Leader. I have delimited the seven elements of learning to four elements in my model of Integrative Mentorship.

The first component of Integrative Mentorship is to “know thyselves”. Beginning with this in mind, the three elements of learning, which I equate to career and psychosocial functions in a traditional mentoring model are: determine your Ideal (True) Self; know your Surreal (Public) Self; and, know your Real (Private) Self. An individual’s Ideal Self reflects who the individual aspires to be when they are at their very best or, “the very best of what we can conceive ourselves to be in the secular traditions and is anchored in virtues” (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 173). An individual’s Surreal self can be thought of as the self that the individual presents on the surface and to others in their every day life. Hatala and Hatala (2005) described the Public Self as Surreal to reflect Eastern wisdom traditions “that suggest our earthly life is an illusion; that we are all actors and actresses within a cosmic dream” (p. 175). An individual’s Private or Real self is the self that lies just beneath the surface and is reflected in Character which “invokes an image of moral and ethical strength” (Hatala & Hatala, 2005, p. 175). Our Private or Real Self may or may not align with our Public or Surreal Self—the expression, “they walk the talk” reflects alignment of an individual’s Private Self and their Personal Self. Hatala and Hatala stated, “[p]racticing and experimenting with new behaviours, beliefs, feelings and values that build on our strengths and minimize our gaps will allow us to move from our Surreal to our Real Self, and from our Real to our Ideal Self” (p. 177). This leads to the second component of Integrative Mentorship and the fourth element of learning.

The second component of Integrative Mentorship is to make the choice to “integrate thyselves”. The fourth element of learning that reflects this is consciously choosing activities that facilitate integration. Hatala and Hatala (2005) “identified 12 Integrative, Transformation and Transcendent (ITT) practices that are helpful in the process of integration” (p. 177). I consider these practices or activities internally focused, for example, meditation, visualization, and interpretation. These are the activities that I believe have been missing from the discussion of mentorship. To date, it has been all about external relationships and external development such as the provision of exposure and visibility or role modeling (Kram, 1988, p. 23). It is my view that the time has come to contemplate the relationship we have with our “selves” and to balance the externally focused work with internally focused work.

Having said all of this, Integrative Mentorship might be limited in that only those who are ready to walk the path of integration are likely to be interested in Integrative Mentorship. Hatala and Hatala (2005) stated:

Voluntarily choosing to walk the path of integration is determined by readiness, and readiness occurs when one is in the questioning stage of maturity where we begin to wonder what it truly means to develop our body, mind, heart, and soul at higher levels of awareness”. (p. 153)

Building on the view of Bass (1985) and considering integral theory, perhaps both leadership and mentorship are best conceptualized as continua on which individual’s are constantly moving.

Leadership Continuum:

leadership continuum

Mentorship Continuum:


I draw this section on the evolution of mentorship to a close with a diagram that shows the relationship between mentoring as it was originally conceived by Kram (1985), to developmental relationships articulated by Higgins and Kram (2001), to the relationship with Self suggested by McInnes (2009).

relationship comparisons


This paper reflects two threads of personal, professional, and academic interest that I feel I am in the process of bringing together or integrating. The first thread is leadership and the second thread is mentorship.

I have been interested in leadership for a number of years, and have read numerous books that have contributed to my own leadership development; however, until now, I have always sensed that I was missing the academic string, which is the theoretical foundation. While I don’t believe that I am finished with the academic string, having attended the International Leadership Association 10th Anniversary Global Conference and writing this paper has helped lay some of that theoretical foundation.

My interest in mentorship is more recent and was sparked by an academic paper I wrote for a class wherein I argued mentorship was a way to increase the participation of female faculty and staff in the higher levels of post-secondary institutions. Since that time, my academic work in this area advanced my thinking and knowledge of mentorship. However, as I learned more about mentorship, I also sensed there was a connection to leadership that I was missing. The exposure to integral theory at the International Leadership Association 10th Anniversary Global Conference and the model of Integral Leadership developed by Hatala and Hatala (2005) has helped me make that connection.

My next step is to make the choice to do the work of integration myself as a test of the model of Integrative Mentorship I have suggested in this paper.

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Kelly McInneshas spent 15 years working as an administrator in post-secondary and currently serves as a Director in Human Resources at the University of Saskatchewan. Kelly is also a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan specializing in the area of Educational Administration. Kelly’s area of interest is mentorship and other developmental relationships. Through her thesis, Kelly hopes to increase understanding of the developmental relationships in which women in administrative positions in a post-secondary environment engage. Kelly’s interest in integral theory was sparked during a session at the 2008 International Leadership Conference and she continues to develop her understanding of integral theory as a new area of interest. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. Kelly may be reached at