Prospective education leaders face challenges in a demanding environment often lacking critical resources necessary to make a difference in schools. The potential to acquire these resources may be found in the mentoring relationships formed during internships in educational leadership preparation programs. A lack of understanding exists regarding variations in the nature of these mentoring relationships—specifically in terms of relational embeddedness—the type and degree to which partners form ties embedded within a social relationship. Variations in relational embeddedness may impact mentoring quality and the potential to acquire the resources needed to succeed in demanding school environments. Theoretical frameworks in mentoring and social network theory were used in this quantitative study to examine the nature of relational embeddedness and its association with a variety of internal and external factors, which may influence the potential relational embeddedness developed in these relationships. Internal factors such as sex and behavior characteristics of both the perspective education leaders and their mentor principals, as well as previous relationship history were among the variables associated with relational embeddedness. This study lays theoretical groundwork and suggests directions for future research regarding relational embeddedness as a means to influence the mentoring quality needed to acquire resources for effective school leadership outcomes. This study also provides practical implications for administrators in educational leadership preparation programs regarding the multidimensional nature of relational embeddedness and the internal and external factors associated with its development.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





mentoring, social network theory, relational embeddedness, educational leadership preparation