This study explores the management and governance interaction in a child care setting. Globally the importance of women in the workforce and the education of young children has shone the spotlight on child care. Most child care research focuses on the education of the child. However, the management and governance of the centres can influence the staffing, resources and culture of the centre, which in turn can affect the care of the children. Further, limited government funding in the sector also heightens the need to understand the impact of management and governance. The findings, from a participant-observer research approach, highlight the tensions between the management and governance functions and that the reliance on formal systems moderate the emotional exchanges that are part of the day to day social fabric of a child care centre.