Mattel and Toy Safety
Pof. Robert Hamamoto
May 11, 2014
In 2007, the Mattel toy company recalled around 20 million of its toy products do to contamination of lead in the paint and safety issues dealing with parts of its products (magnets) that was manufactured in China. The Mattel Company is considered the “global leader’ in toy manufacturing with over 30,000 people employed in over 40 countries and operates in more than 150 countries. The Mattel Company faces the dilemma a lot of companies face when using overseas manufacturing. If not closely monitored, they can and will cut corners which could put the company at risk. Who is responsible for the safety of children’s toy and who should be held accountable? An Analysis of the Mattel case study should reveal who is and who isn’t.
1. Do you believe that Mattel acted in a socially responsible and ethical manner with regards to the safety of its toys? Why or why not? What should or could Mattel have done differently? The study case of the Mattel Toy Company’s toy recall is a difficult one to call. The company went over and beyond to make sure that its products where safe for the public. The case study states that in 1997, the Mattel Company developed a “code of conduct” which included a wide range of ethical issue such as child safety laws, safety and health regulations. Mattel went as for to hire Professor S. Prakash Sethi, who is the head of a non-profit organization by the name of the International Center for Corporate Accountability which conducted audits on Mattel facilities. Mattel was also recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the most trustworthy U.S. companies and was also recognized by CRO Magazine as one of the best corporate citizens out of 100, so they had built a reputation for being a solid socially responsible and ethical company. Ethics can be defined as moral principles that guides the way a person or a business behaves. Social responsibility is an ethical theory, that a person or a business has an obligation to benefit society as a whole. Basically the products or actions of a person or a business should be a benefit to society and The Mattel Company took pride in being just that. Even though Mattel had to recall a lot of its products, I do believe they acted socially responsible and ethically. Mattel tested its products in their own testing facilities and in other special test labs to ensure the safety and quality of its products, and had specifically targeted lead based paint. Once Mattel found out that some of its products contained harmful lead based paint and the magnets in some of its products could be a safety concern, the company had an immediate recall of the products contaminated. Mattel used several outlets such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, regulating agencies from all over the world and newspapers to address the issue of the lead based paint in its products and the magnet problem. Mattel also made it possible for consumers of their products to have access to outlets in which they can return the contaminated products for a refund or a safer replacement product. Mattel did do a lot to ensure the safety and quality of their products, but, they could have taken even further steps to avoid this situation. For one, Mattel should has done research on the on the Chinese firms outside contractors. Even though some of these contractors had been audited, they replaced the approved paint for the lead based paint. So Mattel should have kept a closer eye on these subcontractors in order to maintain their good image with society. Mattel cannot be solely at fought for this recall; the Mattel Company was also a victim in this situation. 2. Who or what do you believe was responsible for the fact that children where exposed to potentially dangerous toys? Why do you think so? This is a hard question because there are several entities that can be blamed...
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