Integrating theories of psychological ownership and stewardship, and taking a relational perspective, we examine key antecedents and outcomes of professional managers' psychological ownership in Chinese owner-managed family businesses. We tested the model using a survey of 166 Chinese professional managers (one from each of 166 family businesses). We find that owner–manager relationship closeness at work mediates the effect of both the owner's benevolent leadership and owner–manager friendship ties on the manager's psychological ownership. Psychological ownership, in turn, is positively related to the manager's intention to stay and to stewardship behaviour. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.