Mattel Toy Recall
Mattel, “the world’s premiere toy company,” began in Southern California in a garage workshop that manufactured picture frames. When the company started selling dollhouse furniture made from picture frame scraps, they realized the market potential and decided switch to toy manufacturing. In 1959, Mattel created their most popular toy, the Barbie doll. Inspired by paper dolls, Barbie was a three dimensional doll with which
“little girls could play out their dreams.” Throughout the decades Mattel has continued to create and market popular toys, (Hot Wheels and He-man) merge with successful manufacturers, (Fisher Price and Tyco) partner with children’s program companies, (Disney, Sesame Street, and Nickelodeon) obtain licenses and rights to manufacture popular lines (Cabbage Patch Dolls and Harry Potter merchandise) and acquire other companies (Pleasant Company).
Since its conception, the Mattel Company has done a lot to make sure it is considered a trustworthy company for children and the community. The corporation established a children’s charity, called the Mattel Children’s Foundation. In 1997 the company created the Global Manufacturing Principles, making them the first company to create a framework to ensure manufacturing would be conducted through consistent standards on a global level. In 1998 they started a $25 million multi-year donation to the UCLA children’s hospital, which is now called the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA.
However, Mattel has not always been able to maintain their image of child-like innocence. The corporation has had numerous complaints that they’ve stolen ideas for their toy-lines from children who have entered their competitions. In the mid 1970’s, it was uncovered that company officials had lied in press releases and financial information to make it look like the company was continuing to grow corporately. The company has also had its share of recalls. Depending on who you ask, the number ranges from 17 to 28. And from August to September of this year Mattel has faced the biggest recall in the company’s history.
Reasons for Recall
There are two separate reasons why Mattel recalled 19 million toys from August to September of 2007. The fact that both recalls occurred at the same time makes this the biggest recall in the company’s history.
The first reason toys were recalled was because of faulty magnets. The design of these toys included parts with high-energy magnets – magnets normally used for industrial purposes – that can easily come loose. These magnets pose a threat to young children and infants who could easily ingest the parts and have them bond together along their digestive tract. If several magnets were swallowed they would pull together in the stomach and rip through stomach tissue. The strength of the magnets combined with Mattel’s poor design of the toys made these products a serious hazard for young children. On their website, Mattel listed 71 models and makes of toys that are recalled because of faulty magnets. Toys affected by this problem included Polly Pockets, Batman action figures, and Barbie and her dog Tanner. Some Polly Pocket sets had been recalled as early as November of 2006.
The other reason Mattel toys were recalled was because high levels of lead-based paint were found on the surface of many toys. Mattel had previously given manufacturers in China a list of eight paint suppliers that they could use, but in order to cut costs, subcontractors used unapproved suppliers. In some cases the lead content was over 180 times the legal limit. Lead-based paint is dangerous for children because elevated levels have been shown to create learning and behavioral problems, slow muscle and bone growth, hearing loss, anemia, brain damage, seizures, coma, and in extreme cases, death. There are 91 models and makes of toys that Mattel placed on recall because of harmful levels of paint. Many of the toys coated with lead-based paint were from Mattel’s Fisher Price line.
Recently, China has had numerous problems with the quality and standards of the products manufactured within the country. Pet food, toothpaste, seafood, tires, and toys are some of the products that had to be recalled from homes in the United States because of serious – and possibly deadly – manufacturing errors.
The business relationship between Mattel and China seemed to be a text-book partnership that started over 25 years ago. Mattel currently does 65 percent of their manufacturing in China, and before this recall was a company others wanted to model in terms of their global manufacturing. Mattel has been criticized for placing too much confidence in their relationship with China and slacking on quality checks at the manufacturing sites. At this point, it seems that Mattel will continue to work with the same manufacturers in China because their options are limited.
In November of 2006, Mattel recalled several Polly Pocket sets sold with magnets that could pose a threat to children.
In early July of 2007 a retailer in Europe discovered a high lead content on some Mattel toys. Upon notification, Mattel began an investigation and halted operations at the factory that produced the toys. During this investigation it was discovered that there were millions of products that didn’t conform to safety standards, many that had been available since 2003.
Fisher-Price started the recalled with 1.5 million toys on August 1, 2007 due to high levels of lead-based paint. The products containing lead paint were mostly from this division of Mattel and were all manufactured in China.
On August 9, 2007, China cancelled the export license of two of the factories linked to the recalls - Hansheng Wooden Products Factory and Lida Toy company. Four days later, the body of Zhang Shuhong, the boss of the Lida Toy Company, was found in the factory workshop. Reports said that he committed suicide by hanging himself in the factory.
After further investigation, Mattel recalled 18 million more products on August 14, 2007 because of the possible hazards they could pose to children swallowing faulty magnets. And on September 4, 2007, Mattel recalled 848,000 more toys globally because of high levels of lead-based paint.
The U.S. Senate Committee began scrutinizing American safety standards for children’s toys and clothing on August 28. The committee said it would consider the possibility of creating new legislation to keep hazardous toys from children.
Despite the fact that a larger number of toys were recalled because of faulty magnets rather than lead-based paint, recall blame was heavily placed on China by global media. During this time, Chinese media claimed that Mattel should be accountable for the mistakes they made rather than use China as a scapegoat. Mattel eventually listened. On September 21, Mattel issued a prepared apology to China about the recall, taking full blame for the incident. They took ownership of the magnetic design flaw, claiming that it was a Mattel design flaw and not a Chinese manufacturing flaw. Nothing was said about the paint.
Objective 1: Get all information about the recall to the public accurately, quickly, and efficiently.
Objective 2: Reassure consumers – especially parents – that Mattel is committed to making safe toys, fixing the problem, and being open and honest.
Objective 3: Take responsibility for the recall. Solve the problem while maintaining a stable relationship with China.
When Mattel realized their company was facing a very serious problem, they first contacted the federal agency that oversees toy problems and product safety. Then they opened their 100-page crisis plan. The fact that the company had a product defect and a difficulty with their supplier made this recall a problem within their control.
When federal officials announced the first Mattel recall, 16 public relations personnel immediately called reporters at the top 40 media outlets. They sent out e-mails with a recall press release, told reporters about a teleconference with executives, and allowed the media to schedule TV appearances or phone conversations with top personnel at Mattel.
The day of the recall, Robert Eckert, the CEO of Mattel did 14 interviews on television and took 20 calls from reporters. Mattel answered over 300 media requests in the United States by the end of the week. The company took out full-page ads in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as well.
Mattel also launched a massive online crusade to inform people about the recall. A link to a crisis response website was set up on their webpage right away and updates have been posted regularly. Webcasts and search engine marketing, also known as pay per click marketing, were used as well.
There are a few reports (and a lawsuit) that claim Mattel knew about the defects of their products long before their announcement to the public, but since announcing it, Mattel has constantly been open with the media and their customers. They claim that although they have very high standards and thorough quality and safety testing procedures, “no system can be perfect.” Mattel also made it clear that they are doing all that they can to assess the situation on the manufacturing level.
Apology to China
Mattel’s toy recalls spurred a wave of China-bashing in the media across the world. This greatly damaged China’s manufacturing reputation around the globe. But much of the criticism may have been unwarranted. Many manufacturers in China claimed they were being blamed for design flaws created by Mattel.
On September 20, 2007, with lawyers present, Mattel issued a carefully-worded apology to China in a meeting with Li Changjiang, the Chinese product safety chief. The apology was given by Mattel’s executive vice president for worldwide operations, Thomas A. Debrowski.
In part of the apology, Debrowski said “Mattel takes full responsibility for these recalls and apologizes personally to you, the Chinese people, and all of our customers who received the toys.” The apology also took responsibility for Mattel’s design flaws, a problem that encompassed a majority of the recalled products and admitted that toys affected by the lead-based paint were a very small percentage of the toys recalled.
China accepted the apology, but Li said that Mattel “should value our cooperation. I really hope that Mattel can learn lessons and gain experience from these incidents, [and they should] improve their control measures.”
The apology may have been later than China would have liked, but the country hopes that it will restore consumer confidence in products “made in China.”
What Mattel is Currently Doing
Those at Mattel have done their best to appear up-front and completely open about the recall. On the first page of their webpage, Mattel dedicated a bold red link to the toy recall. This link contains information for the recall for all countries affected in the world. It tells customers what toys are being recalled, where to bring recalled toys, and what Mattel’s three-point check system is.
Mattel’s three-point check system covers the steps that they are currently taking to insure that all their toys are safe for children. These steps include:
1. Mattel will make sure that manufactures only use paint from certified suppliers and they will test every single batch of paint from all vendors. If the paint isn’t up to Mattel’s standards, it won’t be used.
2. Mattel is increasing control on every level of the production process and conducting random inspections at all vender facilities.
3. Mattel pledges to test all finished toys vigorously before they reach the consumer. The toys must meet a series of strict safety standards before they are put on the market.
Mattel assures customers that all venders are aware of these new procedures and Mattel’s strict enforcement of them.
Many of the news articles that covered the Mattel Recall focused on the lead-paint explanation for the recall, rather than the problems with the toy’s design flaws. This led to a heavy bout of China-bashing throughout the media. Many headlines claimed that “China has Ruined Christmas” and a line that was often repeated in articles was “Made In China should be viewed as a warning label.” All articles mentioned that part of the recall involved toys with industrial magnets, but not all said that 85 percent of all the toys recalled were the ones with the design flaw – not the lead-based paint. Even if the article mentioned the breakdown of recalled toys, that didn’t usually stop them from participating in the negative portrayal of China’s credibility as a manufacturer. Many articles – especially those in newspapers outside the U.S. – insisted that China crack down on their safety standards before they put any more lives in danger. In the media, people in power threatened to detain and inspect all questionable shipments from China.
The media’s coverage of Mattel was vastly different. Although the company was going through a crisis, many media sources commended Mattel for getting the word out quickly and efficiently. Mattel was also often praised in the media for their openness with customers – and the media. The fact that top executives of Mattel were willing to talk to media outlets seemed to give the company favorable coverage and blame shifted to China. Mattel cultivated the image of the company’s willingness to discuss problems as soon as they arose and complete parental concern.
The only article I actually found that defended China was an article printed in the country itself: in the China Post. The article reported that Beijing believed Mattel and the United States put too much blame on China, and was the only source to point out the mislaid emphasis on the majority of the recalls: design flaws. It talked about how China’s image as a reliable producer was damaged, but also said that in light of the product safety scandals the country set up a task force to supervise manufacturing and enforce laws. It applauded Mattel’s courage to come clean about their flawed goods and accept responsibility, and criticized mainland China for not having the same moral courage “to admit fault and embrace responsibility.” The article emphasized that China needs to improve its product safety and learn that quality of goods is often the best policy.
What China Has Done
China has tried to clear up their problems and corruption inside their country. They executed the former head of their food and drug administration for taking bribes from manufactures and placed the blame because his “failure to conscientiously carry out his duties seriously damaged the interests of the state and people.” One subordinate was given the same sentence, and another was put in jail.
But China never made a formal apology to the rest of the world, the companies they manufactured for, or to customers who received tainted goods.
Effect on Society
Parents had extremely different reactions to Mattel’s toy recall. Parent blogs were filled with everything from the Mattel name surrounded by four-letter words to polite requests for a list of all items recalled. Many complained that they had to take their children’s favorite toys away. Many decided not to (or try not to) buy any toys made in China – a difficult task because about 80 percent of toys sold in America are made in China. Many said they would be willing to give the Mattel brand another try. But some parents became exasperated with Mattel’s procedures for the recall. One mother, completely fed up with what seemed to be daily recalls, decided to drive to the Mattel headquarters with her car piled with children and Mattel toys. She ordered the company to sort through the toys and remove any recalled items. Another mother viewed the recall as a wake-up-call to her parenting style. She decided not to blame China or Mattel for the problems, but instead realized that she needed to start entertaining her children herself, not buy their entertainment or use the television as a babysitter. A father made cynical jokes about the recall in a video on youtube.com. A couple bashed Mattel for their PR-scrubbed handling of the entire recall and using “too much red” on their recall webpage. But no matter what the parent’s reactions were, they all agreed that they wanted safe toys for their children to play with.
• Small Mom and Pop Stores have seen a drop in sales, whether they carry Mattel toys or not. They have said that since many parents have changed their buying habits and are trying to stay away form the “Made in China” label.
• Mega toy stores like Toys-R-Us and FAO Swartz are educating their staff about which toys are made in China and where to find toys made in the United States.
• There has been a spike in the purchase of lead testing kits (to be used on Children).
• Companies that have partnered with Mattel, such as Sesame Street and Nickelodeon, have decided to implement their own tests on finished products and toys that Mattel produces.
• EBay has sent out e-mails and notices asking members not to buy or sell many Mattel toys.
• Toys and brands “Made in America” have the potential to gain a new niche in the market. If they can establish themselves as safe and reliable companies, parents said they would gladly pay extra for the security of quality goods.
What We Can Learn
In many ways, Mattel handled the crisis exactly the way textbooks tell corporations to handle reputation-damaging incidents. With their experience with recalls, the company smoothly executed all aspects of their crisis management plan. The company and the CEO were visible and available. They broke the bad news themselves. They told the truth. They apologized publicly, and took immediate action to fix the problem.
Articles have claimed that Mattel was doing their job correctly because they told people about the problem. They confessed and comprehended that they made a mistake and offered a solution.
Mattel’s apology to China is, for the most part, is looked at favorably as well. China hasn’t apologized for any faulty products in the past, in fact, the country often got into long, ugly disputes with corporations over who was to blame for recalls. By accepting all blame, Mattel was able to continue forward and focus on setting things right – not on whose fault it is. This also allowed consumers to see that Mattel is dependable and the one who is responsible for fixing the problem.
Another thing that we have learned is that in regard to the global economy, it’s difficult to know where products are made, what is in them, and who is properly regulating them. By getting this issue out in the open, Mattel is allowing consumers to get a glimpse of how goods get from factories into our homes.
Other China Recalls
The RC2 Corporation recalled several Thomas and Friends train sets in June of 2007 because of high levels of lead-based paint used by Chinese contractors. The R2C Corporation’s recall wasn’t as expansive as Mattel’s, nor is the company as large, but on their website the letter offers an apology to parents first, not an explanation. This corporation also ended their relationship with all manufacturers who did not comply with their paint specifications and implemented a six-point safety check system.
In March of 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration was alerted that animals had died after eating a Canadian pet food, many popular pet food brands were withdrawn overnight across the US. Melamine, an industrial chemical found in plastics was the suspected killer ingredient. There is controversy about how such high levels of melamine got into the pet food, but articles have been written claiming that sources in China admitted to mixing melamine into batches of pet food to make it look like there was a higher content of protein than there actually was. Adding melamine to pet food was banned by China on April 26, 2007, but the country never took any responsibility for the death of pets in America.
Diethylene glycol, a component of antifreeze was found in two brands of Chinese-made toothpaste sold in Europe. The diethylene glycol in toothpaste was found to be the result of deaths in Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Australia.
Paul A. Argenti, Professor of Corporate Communications at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, commented on the case.
“I think Mattel handled the problem very well overall,” he said. “It’s a problem that isn’t unusual for them to have. Product defects and difficulty with suppliers are pretty typical in their line of work and they took responsibility. They were willing to talk about it and understood the ramifications.
He said that maybe Mattel could have been more diligent in picking out suppliers, but that is easier said than done. But Argenti thinks that the two can now have an ongoing relationship. He looked at fact that Mattel took responsibility for the entire recall very favorably, pointing out that not many American companies are willing to be held accountable for legal reasons.
“It’s refreshing to see,” he said, “It takes courage. Mattel seems to have a mind of their own and think outside lawyers and their lawyer’s public relations firms. You can tell by how the case is handled. Either they have a savvy consultant or a great PR firm.”
However, Argenti doesn’t think that Mattel’s problem is over yet. He believes they need to continue to look for problems, work on thing operationally, and produce safer toys. The company has to be prepared for other problems and continue risk management audits. Holiday sales must be monitored and so do blogs.
“There are always going to be problems. But if Mattel can lead the change for toy manufacturers to create a more responsible industry, they could become the hero.”
I agree with Professor Argenti that Mattel did a good job of handling the recall, but I can’t help but wonder how much of it was just for show. Mattel has recalled toys so many times that they know exactly how to handle the problem and use the media to their advantage. But I think by getting their recalls almost down to a science, they may have lost sight of the customer. The website is corporate and cold. There should be an apology readily recognizable when you first open the page and the CEO speaking shouldn’t be so formal and stiff.
I can see how the apology to China was a very excellent and responsible move, but when will China actually take responsibility for themselves? And how can we continue to support an industry that refuses to accept blame for its mistakes?
I can’t help but think that it was a bit of a coincidence that the faulty magnet recall and the lead paint recall happened at the same time. Let’s look at the facts: Mattel recalled several Polly Pocket Sets in November 2006 because of hazardous magnets. In August of 2007, Mattel’s Fisher-Price division recalls a huge amount of toys because of lead-based paint. Mattel recalls a huge amount of toys because of faulty magnet design. Then Mattel recalls a few more toys because of lead-based paint. Why were there so many faulty-magnet recalls nine months later? Why didn’t Mattel catch and fix the magnet problem last November? The timing of the recalls and the fact that China was already being scrutinized for several other product recalls made it very easy for people to throw all the blame on the country, not the company.
I also think that if there’s any time for manufacturers in America to increase their business, the time is now.
According to the instructions for this case study, three virtues were to be chosen to identify with the case study. In keeping with the instructions, I have chosen Honesty, generosity and justice as the 3 virtues to associate with the case. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states, “A virtue such as honesty or generosity is not just a tendency to do what is honest or generous, nor is it to be helpfully specified as a “desirable” or “morally valuable” character trait. It is, indeed a character trait — that is, a disposition which is well entrenched in its possessor, something that, as we say “goes all the way down”, unlike a habit such as being a tea-drinker — but the disposition in question, far from being a single track disposition to do honest actions, or even honest actions for certain reasons, is multi-track. It is concerned with many other actions as well, with emotions and emotional reactions, choices, values, desires, perceptions, attitudes, interests, expectations and sensibilities.
To possess a virtue is to be a certain sort of person with a certain complex mindset. (Hence the extreme recklessness of attributing a virtue on the basis of a single action.)” “The most significant aspect of this mindset is the wholehearted acceptance of a certain range of considerations as reasons for action. An honest person cannot be identified simply as one who, for example, practices honest dealing, and does not cheat. If such actions are done merely because the agent thinks that honesty is the best policy, or because they fear being caught out, rather than through recognizing “To do otherwise would be dishonest” as the relevant reason, they are not the actions of an honest person. An honest person cannot be identified simply as one who, for example, always tells the truth, nor even as one who always tells the truth because it is the truth, for one can have the virtue of honesty without being tactless or indiscreet. The honest person recognizes “That would be a lie” as a strong (though perhaps not overriding) reason for not making certain statements in certain circumstances, and gives due, but not overriding, weight to “That would be the truth” as a reason for making them.”
An honest person’s reasons and choices with respect to honest and dishonest actions reflect her views about honesty and truth — but of course such views manifest themselves with respect to other actions and to emotional reactions as well. Valuing honesty as she does, she chooses, where possible to work with honest people, to have honest friends, to bring up her children to be honest. She disapproves of, dislikes, deplores dishonesty, is not amused by certain tales of chicanery, despises or pities those who succeed by dishonest means rather than thinking they have been clever, is unsurprised, or pleased (as appropriate) when honesty triumphs, is shocked or distressed when those near and dear to her do what is dishonest and so on.” Encyclopedia Britannica defines Justice as, “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims “or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments, the administration of law; especially the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity.
The quality of being just, impartial, or fair. ‘The principle or ideal of just dealing or right action, conformity to this principle or ideal, righteousness, the quality of conforming to law, and conformity to truth, fact, or reason or correctness.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states, “When we speak of justice as a virtue, we are usually referring to a trait of individuals, even if we conceive the justice of individuals as having some (grounding) reference to social justice. But Rawls and others regard justice as “the first virtue of social institutions” (1971, p. 3), so “justice as a virtue” is actually ambiguous as between individual and social applications. This essay will reflect and explore that ambiguity, though the principal focus will understandably be on the justice of individuals.
“However, even the idea of individual justice seems ambiguous in regard to scope. Plato in the Republic treats justice as an overarching virtue of individuals (and of societies), meaning that almost every issue he (or we) would regard as ethical comes in under the notion of justice (dikaosoune). But in modern usages justice covers only part of individual morality, and we don’t readily think of someone as unjust if they lie or neglect their children–other epithets more readily spring to mind. What individual justice most naturally refers to are moral issues having to do with goods or property. It is, we say, unjust for someone to steal from people or not to give them what he owes them, and it is also unjust if someone called upon to distribute something good (or bad or both) among members of a group uses an arbitrary or unjustified basis for making the distribution (this last aspect of individual justice obviously has reference to social or at least group justice).
Discussion of justice as an individual virtue standardly (at least) centers on questions, therefore, about property and other distributable goods.” When studying the case you find that Mattel toy company was accused of importing toy made up of hazardous materials through or from their oversees affiliates. Thus sparking one the largest Major recall of toys in history. Here are four different articles to support my claim, taken from the Proquest Library:
1. “With the Christmas shopping season kicking into high gear, parents in the U.S. and Europe are asking: Are the Chinese toys they’re buying safe? Chinese parents face an even more critical question: What can they safely feed their children? It’s been nearly three months since the massive melamine dairy contamination scandal, and new cases continue to be uncovered almost daily. Meanwhile, it’s been more than a year since Mattel recalled millions of made-in-China toys due to lead contamination. Last week Canada launched its largest-ever product recall of a made-in-China stuffed toy contaminated with lead. Clearly there’s still a problem.”
2. Long-standing concerns about the safety of Chinese exports flared anew this week after an investigation by The Associated Press found that 12 of 103 pieces of mainly Chinese-made children’s jewelry bought in the Unites States contained at least 10 percent cadmium, some in the 80-90 percent range. Two had less than 10 percent and the rest had none.
3. The voracious demand of Western consumers for cheaply made Chinese goods has shriveled with the global financial crisis; the appreciating Yuan has made goods more expensive; quality concerns hit orders after the Mattel lead-tainted toy scandal; and a new labour law has raised production costs.
4. Most toys that are tested are harmless, some of them containing even no chemical substance at all, the Ecology Center remarks. The same observation is made by Asia Inspection: both agree to say that, following the Mattel scandal, everyone’s attention has been reinforced (Chinese and Western governments, Asian suppliers, importers). However, we still stand quite far from a risk-free supply chain. “It is critical that Western governments take concrete action to encourage retailers and importers to systematically control their Asian suppliers: now only 20% of containers leaving China are inspected…. The impulsion for better quality must come from Western countries”, observes Sebastien Breteau. He recommends to French consumers to “check carefully before buying a toy that the packaging includes a CE marking (European conformity), the origin of the product and the name of the importer.”
It is a fact that situation like this can get to be very messy and expensive. This Major recall came on the heal of the company already going through the scrutiny and allegations of various human rights issue such as the use of underage labor, unsanitary working conditions and unfair wages which all and more are common practices in oversees or third world country factories where the majority of the toys made in today economy. These instances and many like them have been well documented and even addressed by world leader and actives throughout the world. To the Mattel toy company’s credit, when asked to sign up for code of ethics to reform these issues, the Mattel toy company signed up for compliance code of ethics. But like most companies in today’s world the economic reality set in as depicted in the case study and I quote,” 1. The company’s top management did not see any economic benefit from its proactive response to code compliance when other companies in the industry did not seem to suffer adverse consequences for not pursuing a robust and transparent form of code compliance.
Thus, the company had to justify its GMP-related actions as ‘‘the Right thing to do,’’ a position that required a sustained level of value-based ethical commitment. 2. Mattel’s top management was distracted with other issues pertaining to its manufacturing and marketing activities, which had strong and potentially negative impact on corporate reputation. Mattel was engulfed in a product recall of 17.4 million toys because of loose magnets that could be swallowed by children. The company also recalled another 2.2 million toys because of impermissible levels of lead in the toys. It was the biggest recall in the company’s history. As if all this adverse publicity was not enough, one of Mattel’s senior executives made a widely publicized public apology to Chinese authorities for inadvertently blaming China’s weak regulation of that country’s toy factories (Press Trust of India, 2007; Story, 2007; Story and Barboza, 2007).”
Eventually, the code Compliance and the cooperation regarding transparency in inspections and any other cooperation needed for verification of the program fell short and became a business as usual program. The program thus fell of the radar as a priority of the top leadership and thus like most companies, if the leadership does not support a program, than neither will subordinates, so eventually the program fell apart and became just another program in which one say in my opinion was on paper but with no serious attention given.
Now, for the case I have chosen the utilitarian ethics to make my point, for to me the one embodies the total concept of leadership. My reason is simple; utilitarianism supports the greater good for all and it is clear from this case, in the end regardless of the arguments made of human rights abuses and even the public relation issues surrounding the recall of Mattel toys, the company took the low road in my opinion and let economic s drive their thoughts and feelings.
It is clear that the focus shifted from the greater good which would have a great effect on all starting from the lower level worker to the top executives, in the final analysis it is my opinion the desire to remain on top as the world’s largest toy maker and distributor along with rising costs and cost litigation the focus of top executives clearly shifted from one of let’s take care all to let’s take care of the bottom line and than being investors and the profit margin. It is clear they knew there were problems in their manufacturing sector with health Well fare and safety as was shown in its recall of its products. This is proof positive in my mind that the greater good for all went out the window “with the bath water” as my mother would say.
Conclusion, Mattel like many other US companies have chosen to outsource the productivity of it toys. It is a fact that most third world countries can produce these toys at a cheaper rate than American factories for they do not have to content with the rigors of the regulatory requirements place on the work place by Human right groups, Lobbyist and in the end government legislation and intervention. An important factor to keep in mind is that the rules that apply to US manufactures, these world countries are not subject too. Thus, many of the Human rights laws or over looked and or not followed at all. As I have stated Mattel had to be aware of this and by their own admission, ignored these issues.
Now with that said, I do not fault Cooperation’s for making money for after all this is what they are in business for, and I am aware that company owes it to their investors to get most for their dollar. However, the action of Mattel in this case, in my opinion does not reflect honesty, generosity and it is surely reflect no justice at all. The ones most affected here are the people who make these toys in those third world countries that face these unsanitary harsh hazardous conditions and the clear winner here is the company’s that continue to outsource their work to these countries. My mother had an old saying that would fit good here and that’s, “the clocker is as bad as the rogue.” Translation, Mattel whether they admit it or not, by their continued usage and lack of interest in the improvements in the factories where the toys are produced may as well is committing the acts against the worker themselves.
Sethi, S., Veral, E., Shapiro, H., & Emelianova, O.. (2011). Mattel, Inc.: Global Manufacturing Principles (GMP) – A Life-Cycle Analysis of a Company-Based Code of Conduct in the Toy http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=0&did=2330329231&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=6&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1312294460&clientId=29440, Industry. Journal of Business Ethics, 99(4), 483-517. Retrieved August 2, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global.
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1602917561&sid=2&Fmt=3&clientId=29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD, The Asian Wall Street Journal, of Melamine and Lead, Anonymous. The Wall Street Journal Asia. Hong Kong: Nov 28, 2008. pg. 12
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1981327401&sid=2&Fmt=3&clientId=29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD, China jewelry makers say toxic metal cuts costs, Alexa Olesen. The Hutchinson News. Hutchinson, Kan: Jan 13, 2010.
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1613287531&sid=2&Fmt=3&clientId=29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD, Chinese toy factories take hit; Signs of sharp economic slowdown everywhere James Pomfret. The Province. Vancouver, B.C.: Dec 14, 2008. pg. A.46
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1619392241&sid=2&Fmt=3&clientId=29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD , AsiaInspection: Toys safety: an expert of Made in China quality shares his opinion a few days before Christmas, Anonymous. M2 Presswire. Coventry, Dec 30, 2008.
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1602917561&sid=2&Fmt=3&clientId=29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD, The Asian Wall Street Journal, of Melamine and Lead, Anonymous. The Wall Street Journal Asia. Hong Kong: Nov 28, 2008. pg. 12