Abstract The paper argues that corporate culture can be a practical management tool and should be incorporated into the organizational processes aimed at managing strategic change. Differing definitions of culture are examined and the conclusion is drawn that its best practical use is as a contingent variable within an open systems framework of strategic analysis. A contingency framework for the cultural analysis of organizations is then constructed in which key situational variables impacting upon the strategic process are identified. This model is then used to analyse the cultural problems facing Ford in its efforts to absorb Jaguar Cars into its organization. The process is further illustrated by reference to what is deemed to be a successful example of cultural analysis—the acquisition and integration of Zanussi by Electrolux.