Purpose: Adopting conservation of resources (COR) theory as a guiding framework, this study proposes that benevolent supervision (BS) is a feasible leadership style for building a positive resource gain process in subordinates' extra-role actions and reducing their exhaustion, and leader-member exchange (LMX) and positive affect (PA) serve as indirect crossover mechanisms. Design/methodology/approach: Surveys were conducted at three-time points with four-week intervals. A total of 304 subordinates and 55 supervisors at a Taiwanese university participated in the surveys, and a multilevel model was used to test the hypotheses. Findings: The results showed that prior BS (time 1) was positively associated with subordinates' subsequent LMX and PA (time 2). LMX mediated the relationship between BS and subsequent supervisor-rated contextual performance (time 3), and PA mediated the relationship between BS and subordinate-rated emotional exhaustion (time 3). In addition, supervisors' learning orientation positively moderated the relationship between BS and contextual performance via LMX, whereas supervisors' performance orientation negatively moderated this relationship. Practical implications: The results of the study encourage leaders to exhibit benevolence toward subordinates, increase subordinates' contextual performance and enhance personal feelings, thereby ultimately benefitting the organization. Originality/value: This study reveals that BS is a source of resource investment in the process of subordinates' positive job (contextual performance) and personal (emotional exhaustion) resource gains through social exchange (LMX) and affective (PA) crossover mechanisms and that supervisors' goal inclinations impact this process.
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