This chapter examines some of the issues involved in studying the relationship between the commercial strategies which lie at the heart of corporate decision-making and the management of labour. In looking at the clearing banks it emphasises the need for a longitudinal approach which explores the evolution of managerial goals in changing contexts and market conditions. Furthermore, though, the intention is to stress that the generation of policies in the area of labour management has been influenced by certain long-standing values broadly encapsulated in the idea of a paternalistic employment relationship and has not been strictly determined by the logic of the commericial environment. Indeed, it is argued throughout that there has consistently been a dichotomy in management policies stemming from efforts to control labour costs, on the one hand, and the desire to sustain commitment and motivation on the other. These are associated with the nature of competition facing the banks. Having looked at these factors in some detail, the chapter sets the stage for an analysis of how key areas of employee relations have been managed.