Mattel Inc.

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Case 15

Mattel Inc.
‘’The serious business of making toys’’

Mattel, Inc.: the serious business of making toys
Case 15
Mattel, Inc. is the world leader in designing and manufacturing family products such as Barbie, American girl, hot wheels and cabbage patch kids. With a 5.5 billion in annual revenue and products being marketed in more than 150 countries around the world this company has managed to stay very successful and incredibly ethical throughout the years. These are some of the examples of Mattel’s commitment to ethics and social responsibility: * Produced a dangerous toy back in 1996 (snack time kids) but handled the situation perfectly by pulling the product out of the market voluntarily soon after some complains surfaced and by offering a cash refund of $40 when returning the dolls. * The difficulties and potential issues when marketing to children were recognized and dealt with by Mattel, especially when using advanced technologies and websites. Mattel got the parents involved in the process and emphasized on their consent for giving out any private information like emails etc… * Conducted a full ethics audit to make sure there isn’t any forced labor, child labor in any of their manufacturing sites or facilities, especially overseas. * Instituted a code of conduct called’’ global manufacturing principles’’ one of these principles require all Mattel owned and contracted manufacturing facilities to favor business partners who are committed to ethical standards like they are. By doing so, Mattel seems to prioritize ethical considerations over profit. * Established international workplace and business practice standards. These standards reflect on the importance of respecting cultural, ethical and philosophical differences. Giving out considerable wages based on the governing laws and with working hours that are set by Mattel Inc. * The company’s partners must at minimum comply with the local and national laws of the countries on which they operate, when signing an agreement with any of Mattel’s manufacturing partners part of that contract is an agreement with the Mattel global manufacturing principles. * Created Mattel independent monitoring council (MIMCO) to make sure that Mattel’s global manufacturing principles are met by evaluation and monitoring. * Founding the Mattel children’s foundation to create charitable investments aimed at furthering Mattel’s goal of bettering the lives of children in need, in 1998 they gave $25 million gift to UCLA children hospital for a new state of the art facility, the hospital was renamed Mattel ‘s children hospital. * When actively engaging in businesses around the world as economic pressure increase, normal business procedures can be changed resulting in unethical and sometimes illegal practices. If any manufacturing facility or business partner violates the global manufacturing principles the business relationship can either be terminated or corrected with a corrective action plan.

Questions

1. What role does the chief executive officer have in creating an organizational culture that values ethics and compliance?

Mattel Inc. has shown incredible resilience over the years when it comes to its code of ethics, as mentioned in the case the company has been under the control of a number of executives over a short period of time but through all its changes in the managerial style, company structure and profit rates Mattel Inc. has always kept its ethical values in the front center of it all. Meaning that both CEO’s Jill Barad (from 1997 to 2000) and Robert Eckert realized the importance of an organizational culture that values ethics and decided that it was for the best interest of all to create and maintain it. Robert "Bo" Ewald, CEO of Silicon Graphics offered a description of four principles that he sees as critical steps for CEO’s to follow in order to create an ethical environment ‘’1. The CEO's job is to lead. Model...
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