This paper investigates when proactive personality exerts a positive or negative effect on psychological strain, which, in turn, is conducive or destructive to job performance. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, we examine leader-member exchange (LMX, the quality of emotional support, trust and exchange of valuable resources between the leader and follower) as a crucial moderator, such that proactive personality is negatively related to psychological strain under high LMX, but is positively related to psychological strain under low LMX. Moreover, we hypothesize a moderated mediation effect such that the indirect effect of proactive personality on job performance through psychological strain is positive when LMX is high but negative when LMX is low. Results based on a two-wave, multi-source survey study with a sample of 266 employees and their direct supervisors in a sales company in China lent support to our moderation and moderated mediation hypotheses.
Bibliographical noteThe first two authors made an equal contribution to this article.
This study was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71872143) awarded to Fuli Li.
- Job performance
- Leader–member exchange
- Proactive personality
- Psychological strain