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How does mentoring affect mentees innovation behavior: The role of self-expansion and social face consciousness

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A better understanding of how the mentoring affects mentees’ innovation behavior is crucial to improve mentees’ innovative work, so as to enhance the competitiveness of enterprises. Yet existing literature pays little attention to mentoring and mentees’ innovation behavior from the self-expansion view. This study applies self-expansion theory to examine the link between mentoring and mentee innovation behavior (as rated by mentors) based on 430 dyads of mentors and mentees data from Chinese organizations. We further classify the roles of mentees self-expansion on this link. The results show that mentoring can stimulate mentees innovative behavior and self-expansion plays a mediating effect on this positive relationship. This paper also explores the role of social face consciousness (namely, desire to gain face and fear of losing face) in self-expansion and mentoring. It finds that mentees fear of losing face can moderate the mediating effect of their self-expansion. These empirical findings have implications for understanding how mentoring improves mentees’ innovation behavior from individual heterogeneity perspective, which enriches mentoring and self-expansion theory.

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Data Availability

he questionnaire data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the National Office for Philosophy and Social Sciences (Grant No. 20BGL136), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71172173). The responsibility for any error rests solely with the authors. The contents of this paper reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily indicate acceptance by the sponsors.

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Correspondence to Pingqing Liu.

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Xu, S., Yang, Z., Liu, P. et al. How does mentoring affect mentees innovation behavior: The role of self-expansion and social face consciousness. Curr Psychol 42, 18341–18354 (2023).

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