Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in a Craft-Based Industry

Demetry, Daphne and Doern, Rachel. 2019. 'Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in a Craft-Based Industry'. In: European Theory Development Workshop (ETDW). London, United Kingdom June 2019. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This study investigates how protégés carve out distinctive identities from mentors in a craft-based industry. We carried out interviews with 37 elite chef-owners in London, England to examine their experiences of leaving their mentors’ kitchens and opening a restaurant. Drawing from optimal distinctiveness theory, our findings suggest chef-owners faced unique tensions in separating their identities and redefining relationships with their mentors, a practice we refer to as “unmentoring,” and how they did so was shaped by gender. For female chef-owners, unmentoring was framed as a difficult process that involved inclusionary work, maintaining a connection to mentors in their new identities after starting their own restaurants. For male chef-owners, unmentoring incorporated distancing work, marking a clearer separation from their mentors going forward. These findings contribute to the literature on mentorship by revealing the complexities of the separation and redefinition phases between mentor and protégé, and especially how these phases are gendered. In addition, the optimal distinctive-type tension inherent to these phases reveal that separation and redefining mentoring relationships is not always easily granted, revealing the importance of studying the context of mentoring. Finally, our research has implications for the mentor-protégé relationships common to craft work and the gendered form these relationships may take.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


June 2019Accepted

Event Location:

London, United Kingdom

Date range:

June 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

11 Oct 2019 10:44

Last Modified:

11 Oct 2019 10:44


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