Jones, R., & Corner, J. (2012). Seeing the forest and the trees: A complex adaptive systems lens for mentoring. Human Relations, 65(3), 391-411.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7132
We offer a complex adaptive systems (CAS) lens as a potentially fruitful cross-disciplinary perspective for mentoring. Understanding mentoring relationships as CAS will invigorate the field and assist it to be responsive and relevant given our increasingly complex and turbulent environment. We begin by exploring the key properties of CAS. We then review the current mentoring literature's connection to the systems and complexity theories that underpin CAS, demonstrating CAS's relevance. We further examine four specific benefits that such a lens could bring, including attention to process, the reconceptualization of context, the adoption of new methodologies, and the fostering of interdisciplinary conversation. Research questions the CAS lens might stimulate for mentoring are then considered and difficulties with the CAS approach explored. We conclude by suggesting how CAS-informed research might shape mentoring knowledge and practice.
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