An evaluation of reverse mentoring: A case study of research assistants and advisors

Samet Özdemir, Kadir Ardiç


Reverse mentoring, which refers to the relationship between a young employee in the role of the mentor and a more senior and experienced employee in the role of the mentee, is gaining popularity in the business world. This study aims to discuss the relationship between research assistants, who are just starting at the academy and are thought to have traces of reverse mentoring, and advisors with more experience in the academy, in the context of the functions and sub-functions of reverse mentoring. In this exploratory study, in which a qualitative research method was adopted, data was obtained as a result of semi-structured interviews with 17 research assistants working in different faculties and departments at a state university in Turkey. The data obtained after the interviews with the research assistants was analysed using content analysis. The findings of the research suggested that the career, psycho-social, and role model functions of reverse mentoring in the relationship between research assistants and their advisors have sub-functions of knowledge sharing, challenging ideas, networking, friendship, and new perspectives. It was also concluded that other functions were at a limited level or non-existent.

Keywords: mentoring, reverse mentoring, research assistant, advisor, academy


  • Allen, T. D. (2003). Mentoring others: A dispositional and motivational approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62(1), 134-154.
  • Allen, T. D., Eby, L. T., Poteet, M. L., Lentz, E., & Lima, L. (2004). Career benefits associated with mentoring for protégés: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(1), 127-136.
  • Baily, C. (2009). Reverse intergenerational learning: a missed opportunity? AI & Society, 23(1), 111-115.
  • Bakiera, L. (2016). Developmental mentoring from the perspective of intergenerational complementarity. e-mentor, 5(67), 4-13.
  • Barker, E. R. (2006). Mentoring-A complex relationship. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 18(2), 56-61.
  • Biss, J. L., & DuFrene, D. D. (2006). An examination of reverse mentoring in the workplace. Business Education Digest, 15, 30-41.
  • Browne, I. (2021). Exploring reverse mentoring; "win-win" relationships in the multi-generational workplace. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 15, 246-259.
  • Busen, N. H., & Engebretson, J. (1999). Mentoring in advanced practice nursing: The use of metaphor in concept exploration. The Internet Journal of Advanced Nursing Practice, 2(2), 10.
  • Chaudhuri, S. (2019). Perspectives in HRD-Reverse mentoring: Hallmarks for implementing an intergenerational intervention. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 31(3), 65-71.
  • Chaudhuri, S., & Ghosh, R. (2012). Reverse mentoring: A social exchange tool for keeping the boomers engaged and millennials committed. Human Resource Development Review, 11(1), 55-76.
  • Chaudhuri, S., Park, S., & Johnson, K. R. (2021). Engagement, inclusion, knowledge sharing, and talent development: is reverse mentoring a panacea to all? Findings from literature review. European Journal of Training and Development, 46(5/6), 468-483.
  • Chen, Y. C. (2021). Mentorship in a digital teaching capability maturity model and systematic modular course. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 34(1), 7-30.
  • Cismaru, L. & Iunius, R. (2020). Bridging the generational gap in the hospitality industry: reverse mentoring - an innovative talent management practice for present and future generations of employees. Sustainability, 12(1), 263.
  • Clarke, A. J., Burgess, A., van Diggele, C., & Mellis, C. (2019). The role of reverse mentoring in medical education: current insights. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 10, 693-701.
  • Clutterbuck, D. (2014). Everyone needs a mentor (5th ed.). Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education (5th ed). Open University Press.
  • Cotugna, N., & Vickery, C. E. (1998). Reverse mentoring: a twist to teaching technology. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 98(10), 1166-1168.
  • Crisp, G., & Cruz, I. (2009). Mentoring college students: A critical review of the literature between 1990 and 2007. Research in Higher Education, 50(6), 525-545.
  • Damnjanovic, V., Proud, W., & Milosavljevic, M. (2021). Mentoring development at student international business case competitions. EuroMed Journal of Business, 16(2), 154-170.
  • Eaves, C. (2018). Mentoring the Next Generation: Connie Eaves. Cell Stem Cell, 23(2), 164.
  • Gabriel, A. G., Alcantara, G. M. & Alvarez, J. D. G. (2020). How do millennial managers lead older employees? The Philippine workplace experience. Sage Open, 10(1).
  • Gadomska-Lila, K. (2020). Effectiveness of reverse mentoring in creating intergenerational relationships. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 33(7), 1313-1328.
  • Galbraith, M. W. (2003). Celebrating mentoring. Adult Learning, 14(1), 2-3.
  • Gibson, D. E. (2004). Role models in career development: New directions for theory and research. Journal of vocational behavior, 65(1), 134-156.
  • Gügerçin, U. (2017). Leveraging the differences: A case of reverse mentoring. In Proceedings of the 11th International Management Conference, The role of management in the economic paradigm of the XXIst Century (pp. 56-71).
  • Gündüz, Ş., & Akşit, B. (2018). Student-president reverse mentoring at universities: Maltepe University case. Yüksekögretim Dergisi, 8(3), 346-356.
  • Harvey, M., McIntyre, N., Thompson Heames, J., & Moeller, M. (2009). Mentoring global female managers in the global marketplace: traditional, reverse, and reciprocal mentoring. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 20(6), 1344-1361.
  • Hayes, E. F. (2005). Approaches to mentoring: How to mentor and be mentored. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 17(11), 442-445.
  • Hays, B. A., & Swanson, D. J. (2012). Public relations practitioners' use of reverse mentoring in the development of powerful professional relationships. PRism, 9(2).
  • Hernandez, J. S., Poole, K. G., Jr, & Grys, T. E. (2018). Mentoring millennials for future leadership. Physician Leadership Journal, 5(3), 41-44.
  • Hieker, C., & Rushby, M. (2020). Key success factors in implementing sustainable mentor programmes in large organisations. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 18(2), 197-208.
  • Higher Education Law, 2547 YÖK § 33 (1981). Retrieved from
  • Hsieh, H. F. & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288.
  • Inzer, L. D., & Crawford, C. B. (2005). A review of formal and informal mentoring: Processes, problems, and design. Journal of Leadership Education, 4(1), 31-50.
  • Kaše, R., Saksida, T. & Mihelič, K.K. (2019). Skill development in reverse mentoring: motivational processes of mentors and learners. Human Resource Management, 58(1), 57-69.
  • Kram, K. E. (1985). Mentoring at work: Developmental relationships in organizational life. Administrative Science Quarterly, 30(3), 454-456.
  • Leedahl, S. N., Brasher, M. S., Estus, E., Breck, B. M., Dennis, C. B. & Clark, S. C. (2019). Implementing an interdisciplinary intergenerational program using the Cyber SeniorsR reverse mentoring model within higher education. Gerontology and Geriatrics Education, 40(1), 71-89.
  • Leh, A. S. (2005). Lessons learned from service learning and reverse mentoring in faculty development: a case study in technology training. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 13(1), 25-41.
  • Madison, E. (2019). Piloting journalistic learning in a rural Trump-supportive community: A reverse mentorship approach. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 11(3), 49-60.
  • McCoy, R. C. (2015). Ethical diversity in strategic communications: The hiring, training, and mentoring of millennial minorities. West Virginia University.
  • Morgan, D. L. & Morgan, R. K. (2009). Single-case research methods for the behavioral and health sciences. SAGE Publications.
  • Murphy, M. W. (2012). Reverse mentoring at work: Fostering cross-generational learning and developing millennial leaders. Human Resource Management, 51(4), 549-573.
  • Noe, R. A. (1988). An investigation of the determinants of successful assigned mentoring relationships. Personnel Psychology, 41(3), 457-479.
  • Patton, M. Q. (2014). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice. Sage Publications.
  • Peterson, D. B. (1996). Executive coaching at work: The art of one-on-one change. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 48(2), 78-86.
  • Porras, N. I., Díaz, L. S. & Nieves, M. M. (2018). Reverse mentoring and peer coaching as professional development strategies. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 20(2), 169-183.
  • Profili, S., Sammarra, A., Dandi, R., & Mascia, D. (2019). Clinicians' ability, motivation, and opportunity to acquire and transfer knowledge: An age-driven perspective. Health Care Management Review, 44(3), 216-223.
  • Shea, G. F. (2002). How to develop successful mentor behaviors (3rd ed). Crisp Publications.
  • Singh, S., Thomas, N., & Numbudiri, R. (2021). Knowledge sharing in times of a pandemic: An intergenerational learning approach. Knowledge and Process Management, 28(2), 153-164.
  • Stone, F. M. (2002). Coaching and mentoring. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Tayşir, N. K. & Ülgen, B. (2017). "Reverse mentoring' designs of banking sector in Turkey. Journal of Administrative Sciences, 15(29), 305-317.
  • Trunk, P. (2007, July 5). What Gen Y really wants. Time Magazine.,33009,1640395,00.html
  • Wilson, J. (2014). Old hands, new terrain: Examining the concerns and challenges of the mature radiation therapist in British Columbia. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 45(3), 283-290.
  • Yin, R. (1984). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed). Sage Publications.
  • Zauschner-Studnicka, S. A. (2017). A model for reverse-mentoring in education. Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering, 11(3), 551-558.

Samet Özdemir

The author is a research assistant at Sakarya University, and a PhD candidate in Management and Organisation. His field of study is Human Resources Management, Organisational Behaviour and Industrial Relations.

Kadir Ardiç

The author is a professor at Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University. He is a professor of business administration and an industrial engineer. Having worked both in Turkey, especially at Sakarya University, as well as abroad, Ardiç's fields of study are Human Resource Management, Organisational Behaviour, Management and Strategy, and Total Quality Management. In addition to his professorship he has served as vice dean, general secretary, vice rector and as a consultant to various organisations.

About the article


The article is in the printed version on pages 38-47.

pdf read the article (English)

How to cite

Özdemir, S., & Ardýç, K. (2022). An evaluation of reverse mentoring: A case study of research assistants and advisors. e-mentor, 4(96), 38-47.