Organizational leaders need to establish policies and programs to retain quality employees. Mentorship and work life balance positively impact organizational commitment and reduce turnover intention. The purpose of this phenomenological, qualitative study was to explore the role that mentors play in helping women achieve work life balance. Two major theoretical frameworks were used as a basis of this study. Giele (2008) identified 4 life course dimensions that contribute to an individual's behavioral system: identity, relational style, drive and motivation, and adaptive style. Elder and Giele (2009) built on this work and combined elements of their paradigms to link dimensions of an individual's behavioral system and the setting where that individual functions. Kram (1988) documented 2 major categories of mentorship functions. The first set of functions, career functions, focuses on those aspects of the mentoring relationship that enhance career advancement. The second set of functions, psychosocial functions, focuses on interpersonal aspects of the relationship. The research questions focused on how the presence of a mentor in the workplace impacted women's experiences and enabled them to meet the challenges of work life balance. The research questions explored how having a mentor while dealing with the challenges of work life balance impacted the 17 participants' perceptions of organizational commitment and turnover intention. The researcher also investigated how mentorship functions differed based on the characteristics of the mentor relationship. This researcher gathered the data by sending an online survey to 80 women who had previously participated in the Digital Women's Project (Weber, 2011). Data were coded based on a priori lists that were developed from the theoretical frameworks and the literature. Themes were established and utilized to develop findings for each research question. Nine out of 17 participants had a mentor who aided her with work life balance. Women who had a mentor experienced all 4 life course dimensions. Both mentoring and work life balance positively impacted the participants' organizational commitment and reduced their turnover intention. The participants experienced almost exclusively positive mentorship outcomes. In light of these findings, organizational leaders can develop policies and programs to encourage mentorship and aid employees with work life balance, thus increasing retention.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Women employees; Mentoring in business; Work-life balance; Organizational effectiveness

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Weber, Margaret J.;