Mattel and Toy Safety

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For the better part of 30 years now, corporate executives have struggled with the issue of the firm's responsibility to its society. Early on it was argued by some that the corporation's sole responsibility was to provide a maximum financial return to shareholders. It became quickly apparent to everyone, however, that this pursuit of financial gain had to take place within the laws of the land. Though social activist groups and others throughout the 1960s advocated a broader notion of corporate responsibility, it was not until the significant social legislation of the early 1970s that this message became indelibly clear as a result of the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These new governmental bodies established that national public policy now officially recognized the environment, employees, and consumers to be significant and legitimate stakeholders of business. From that time on, corporate executives have had to wrestle with how they balance their commitments to the corporation's owners with their obligations to an ever-broadening group of stakeholders who claim both legal and ethical rights. A.B. Carroll, (1991). In this paper I will discuss the issue of toy safety in reference to Mattel, Inc., one of the world’s leading toy makers. Mattel had ordered a series of recalls of children’s playthings that had been found to be coated with lead paint. The toy recalls had alarmed parents and consumer activists, as well as the toy industry, retailers who marketed their products, and product safety regulators. I will address the following circumstances that involved Mattel and their safety issues. Do I believe that Mattel acted in a socially responsible and ethical manner with regard to the safety of its toys? Why or why not? What should or could Mattel have done differently, if anything?...
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