Mattell Case Study
Summarize the key facts of the case in a paragraph. This article discusses the organizational growth, obstacles and changes of toy maker, Mattel. Over their 50 years of experience, Mattel has grown from a garage run shop to an international super star. The case mainly addresses CEO, Bob Eckert’s organizational changes that catapulted Mattel to industry leadership. In a 2008 interview, Mr. Eckert says “if you can consistently try to do the right thing, life is so much easier. If you live by your basic values, a) you’ll get through it, and b) you’ll feel satisfied that you did the best you could” (Yang, 2008).
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By examining Mattel’s admirable reactions to adversity, the article demonstrates how the CEO really lives by these words. Through effective change and excellent communication both internally and externally, Mattel has become an industry leader and a positive example of doing the right thing. It finishes by analyzing Mattel’s efforts to correct its errors by enforcing stricter oversight on its manufacturers, in future efforts to avert future mistakes. Yang, J. L. (2008, January 22). Mattel’s CEO recalls a rough summer.
Retrieved August 20, 2011, from CNN Money: http://money. cnn. com/2008/01/21/news/companies/mattel. fortune/ In what ways did Mattel’s Robert Eckert display effective leadership? In what ways was he ineffective? Mattel’s CEO, Robert Eckert displays consistently effective leadership at many stages throughout his time with company. When he took over Mattel, he made many changes very swiftly. By selling off unsuccessful acquisitions and products, he was able to cut employee costs by cutting hundreds of jobs.
While this is not an ideal situation, it was important to improving inventory controls by streamlining products. He also developed a system to more effectively measure demand for its products earlier in production. He also helped streamline the logistics, improved the company’s information stream and improved relations with retailers; all by stepping up organizational communication. Eckert changed the company into the dynamic leader it is today, through his effective leadership and admirable responses to corporate ethical and legal struggles.
In hindsight, Eckert was ineffective when the lead paint and magnet toy recalls were made public. This obstacle showed Mattel’s previous lack of manufacturer oversight and corporate responsibility. “Clearly Mattel did not have sufficiently tight quality control procedures in its supply chain to compensate for the extra risks of outsourcing to relatively new Chinese subcontractors” (Quelch, 2007). The company had too many overseas manufacturers with many cultural barriers, making regulation of them incredibly difficult.
Mattel responded swiftly and responsibly by apologizing to its customers and shareholders. It offered full money back for defective products and established tighter regulations for everyone in its manufacturing and distributing chains. All things considered, Eckert’s professional response to crisis and perceptive ability to reconstruct the corporation shows especially effective leadership. Quelch, J. (2007, August 27). Mattel: Getting a Toy Recall Right. Retrieved August 20, 2011, from Working Knowledge: http://hbswk. hbs. edu/item/5755. html
What type of organizational changes did Mattel make within the last few decades? The first change that had to be made at Mattel came along with a new CEO after a decade of declining sales. When Robert Eckert took over in 2000, he immediately sold off unsuccessful pieces of the company and changed the whole structure to streamline its processes. These initial efforts by the CEO propelled the company into the successful organization it is today. Another necessary change came about when communications became increasingly difficult between the corporation and its global manufacturers.
Mattel introduced its Global Manufacturing Principles, which included requiring minimum wages for all factory workers, prohibited child labor and mandated that all of its workers had a safe working environment. These principles exemplify Mattel’s focus on corporate responsibility, but fell short in the late 1990s. The lead paint and magnet safety crisis required Mattel to adapt its system, make amends for its oversight, and insure safety for its future products. After apologizing to shareholders and customers, Mattel took great strides to contact the affected consumers and refund or replace their products.
They operated with open communication internally and externally to keep tensions low and prove they had changed their practices. They introduced more stringent restrictions on subcontractors of their manufacturers and instituted tighter oversight on those operations. All of these changes have helped Mattel maintain success as a leader in their industry. Their ability to adapt to their environment, makes them one of the most admired companies in America. Assume you are Robert Ekert’s successor.
What steps will you take to position Mattel as a responsible organization? First and foremost, I would take steps to actually reduce our corporate carbon footprint. Responsibility in today’s environment involves insuring we are contributing to leaving this earth better than we found it. Our children deserve fewer landfills, and our products can be packaged and shipped with less packing material and excess trash. I would kick off a worldwide recycling campaign for fallen Barbie dolls and worn out Hot Wheels.
Streamlining processes with less energy waste and acquiring materials from ethical sources would be of the upmost importance. Secondly, I would renew the corporate commitment to the governance of the standard set in our factories. The employees of Mattel and its subsidiaries should be equally and fairly compensated for their labor. I would encourage all subsidiaries to comply with Mattel’s Global Manufacturing Principles by rewarding those who consistently excelled and by not renewing the contracts of those who did not.
Finally, I believe that an American company has a corporate obligation to move jobs back to the states. I would work to build effective stateside production facilities, in an effort to insure production and safety regulations are upheld. Furthermore, it is important to support American laborers and provide stimulus for a failing economy. Dana, It is my opinion to that the most effective communication for minor daily changes is a company-wide email. This is a sure fire way to introduce the suggested or already in effect changes to their workflow or routine.
It affords every employee the time they need to read, digest and calculate how it will personally affect them. Once the employees have processed the changes, more specific questions can be answered. This helps the company to turn around more quickly and move forward in their new direction. I do think bigger changes require bigger delivery. For office closures and downsizing, a larger meeting should be called to discourage office gossip and things getting blown out of proportion. Love your posts! Have a great week. Absolutely Greg!
While change is scary, it is substantially worse without adequate communication channels. People naturally fear the unknown and the things they don’t understand. When change is happening within the organization, employees can sense it. They see closed doors; they hear whispers, the whispers turn into speculation and rumors, and fear increases. When a company has made a decision to change, prompt communication company-wide is important. The corporate benefit needs to be indisputably known to all employees, and leaders must provide a strategy for the new direction being introduced.