This article explores links between the firm's financial structure, corporate governance, and the management of labour. It reviews various literatures, in particular drawing from financial economics and political economy, and combines these with industrial relations, and human resource management. We develop a model that identifies how financial institutions and pressures impact upon labour management. Managerial discretion is at the centre of the model, and six key influences and constraints upon management are identified. We present evidence from comparative analysis of labour management which illustrates how management decisions and practices are affected. A benefit of this approach is that it can take account of within-country variations.