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Morgan-Jones, R. (2019). Ambivalence in Mentorship: An Exploration of Emotional Complexities (2008), by Bonnie D. Oglensky. London: Routledge. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 19(1):125-128.

(2019). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 19(1):125-128

Book Reviews

Ambivalence in Mentorship: An Exploration of Emotional Complexities (2008), by Bonnie D. Oglensky. London: Routledge

Review by:
Richard Morgan-Jones

The author of this candid and thorough account of the experiences of intimacy in mentorship insists its title on every page. Anyone wanting to understand the phenomenology of the experience of ambivalence could chose no better place to start than Oglensky's “telling the tale” of her thorough research, based on 100 interviews with mentors and their protégés. The author works as Academic Director of Sociology and Human Relations, at the School of Professional Studies, The City University of New York, and describes her interest “in the socioemotional complexities of professional and workplace relationships—particularly those such as mentorship that are authority based” (p. ix). She has a background and experience in mental health and has previously written about time, professional life, family, and gender.

The first thing to say about this book is its clarity of aim and purpose. This is not a book about mentoring programmes, nor formal allocation of mentoring in schemes or programmes within staff development in organisations. Rather it is about the more spontaneously or even deliberately espoused seeking of a mentor and/or a protégé, by professionals with different agendas. Helpfully, in my view, the reported quotations from interviews, and there are many giving voice in the making of this book, are en-roled with pseudonyms beginning with an M (e.g., Marlena) or a P (e.g., Polina) depending on whether they are mentors or protégés.

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