Thesis: This is a rhetorical analysis of the response strategies employed by Mattel during the recall crisis. This decision would come back to haunt the toy manufacturer in the summer of 2007. Understanding how trust is built, support and recovery are a critical competency for any organization, particularly for those who take their ethical values and commitments seriously. Since an organization’s reputation is built on its trustworthiness that can take a long time and require considerable effort and investment in being successful. In May 1998, “Mattel Inc. stockholders rejected a resolution that sought to link executive pay with fair labor practices at production sites. The Nashville-based United Paperworkers International union, a Mattel shareholder, submitted the proposal urging the El Segundo-based toy maker to reward executives for enforcing company standards requiring the company and its suppliers to comply with wage laws, workplace-safety requirements and child-labor prohibitions”. http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/toy-industry-labor-relations But, what happens when a crisis or scandal hits an organization and its reputation for trustworthiness comes under sustained threat? This question is a rhetorical analysis of the response strategies employed by Mattel during the recall crisis. In summer of 2007, that decision would come back to haunt the toy manufacturer. On August 14, 2007, headline declared that Mattel’s reputation was under fire. Also in October of 2007, it was apparently across the globe that the long time toy industry giant (Mattel) was facing a major crisis. By announcing three major sets of toy recalls between August 2 and September 4, and another minor recall on October 25. Mattel was continuously under fire from the press and its stakeholders, regarding their direct and/or indirect stake in the company and its performance. Who were demanding an adequate response from the company? On June 8, 2007, Mattel was first alerted to the possibility of lead paint contamination that was reported as the problem. On June 10, 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) deadline had passed and Mattel fails to act and on July 26 Mattel files for a full recall report with CPSC. Afterwards, on August 14 Mattel voluntarily recalls 17.4 million products with loose magnets. Again, on September 4 Mattel voluntarily recalls 850,000 toys with lead paint. On October 25 Mattel voluntarily recalls Go Diego Go! Rescue boats in paint containing hazardous levels of lead. On November 6, Mattel voluntarily recalls 155,000 toys manufactured in Mexico because of the choking hazard. American toy manufacturer Mattel, an occasion to remember few months before the most important sales season for the toy industry Mattel had to face the reaction of both the general public and the media after announcing massive recalls of potentially harmful toys for children’s. Whether the toys were faulty designed and therefore prone to loose small magnets which if swallowed could harm children, or they were toys tainted with lead paint by unscrupulous Chinese manufactures did not make a difference. They were dangerous toys that could not be left on store shelves. Because of the lead paint violation in 1998, 36 recalls, due to lost sales damaged reputation, diversion of resources, increased customer support, threat and expense of litigation. These recalls have created concern over toy safety and product safety quality control when outsourcing to China and toy safety inspection processes. Key regulation companies must report a defect recall within 24 hours of discovery, stipulates legal lead toxicity levels. “Mattel reputation for trustworthiness, forged by its ground breaking and widely admired code of conduct for overseas production and business ethics, it brought the company time and space to respond in their own way without significant external interference, independent analysts and even watchdog groups say Mattel...
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