The relationship between a supervisor and a research student can make or break the students success and pursuit of original contribution to knowledge development. Although the nature of the supervision relationship has evolved over time, studies about supervisor-student relationships have not fully examined the influence of the key factors associated with relational exchange. In this paper, we develop a conceptual model depicting the antecedents of supervisory relationship satisfaction. In developing the current paper, we draw from the extensive relationship marketing literature and are inspired by the relational model of focal sponsorship exchange by farrelly and quester (2005). Our arguments are also supported by a comprehensive reflection of the research supervision relationship between professor pascale quester and the first author of this paper, as well as that between the second author and his supervisor. We argue that supervisors trust and commitment in the relationship are two key drivers of students and supervisors satisfaction with the relationship. We also propose congruence moderates these key relationships such that the relationship is stronger with higher congruence. Springer science+business media singapore 2016.