Mattel and the Toy Recalls (A)
(8 pages of text)
2013; 2012; 2011; 2010; 2009
On July 30, 2007 the senior executive team of Mattel under the leadership of Bob Eckert, chief executive officer, received reports that the surface paint on the Sarge Cars, made in China, contained lead in excess of U.S. federal regulations. It was certainly not good news for Mattel, which was about to recall 967,000 other Chinese-made children's character toys because of excess lead in the paint. Not surprisingly, the decision ahead was not only about whether to recall the Sarge Cars and other toys that might be unsafe, but also how to deal with the recall situation. The (A) case details the events leading up to the recall and highlights the difficulties a multinational enterprise faces in managing global operations. Use with Ivey case 9B08M011, Mattel and the Toy Recalls (B).
This case can be used to discuss:
- The complexity of multinational operations, particularly the issues of (i) coordination and control, (ii) oversights in global supply chains, and (iii) knowledge management and organizational learning.
- The recall strategy and the various decisions involved in a recall situation.
- Strategic decision making.
- The stakeholders of a multinational corporation.
- The values and ethics a multinational corporation should follow.
The cases are appropriate for use in a number of undergraduate and graduate courses. They can be taught from a cross-enterprise perspective or from functional orientations, including:
- International management, to illustrate the complexities involved in managing global operations and the challenges of managing multiple stakeholders spread around the world.
- Strategic management, to illustrate strategic decision making by discussing the effects of decisions and techniques to handle them.
- Marketing and operations management, to illustrate issues surrounding product recalls and their effective management.
- Communications management, to illustrate the importance of communication in crisis situations.
United States; China, Large, 2007
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