Mattel Responds to Ethical Challenges

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MattelResponds to Ethical Challenges


MattelInc. is the world’s largest toy manufacturer headquartered in ElSegundo, California. In September of 2007, the firm recalled aboutten million Chinese-made toys due to the hazard they posed tochildren emanating from their lead-based painting (Ferrell &ampFraedrich, 2015). The company went on to recall more than eighteenmillion of its products after it emerged that they contained strongmagnets that could harm children when ingested. The firm’sFisher-Price subsidiary in 2009 received a $ 2.3 million fine fromthe Consumer Product Safety Commission for violating code 16 of theCFR 1303 that limits lead use in paint. Initially, the company deniedany wrongdoing before finally accepting responsibility for the mess.Subsequently, Mattel increased its audit checks and altered some ofits policies to enable greater scrutiny of manufacturers, suppliers,and products. The company renewed its commitment to ethics andimproved its social responsibility initiative.

Answerto Question 1

Themanufacturers have special obligations towards consumers and thesociety. The CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) enactedin 2008 has regulations uniquely meant for children’s products(Retailers: Product Safety and Your Responsibilities, 2017). Underthe Act, a manufacturer is supposed to provide the retailer with achildren’s product certificate. Congress requires that amanufacturer issues the consumers with a product registration cardfor the item bought and keep a contact record of customers who haveregistered their products. Another responsibility is the protectionof children’s privacy. The manufacturer is not supposed to collectinformation from children without the consent of their parents. Theyhave to ensure the safety of the product reaching their consumers.There is a need to take follow-up measures through vetting ofsuppliers and audit of the companies they contract to ensure thatthey are all complying with the relevant laws.

Answerto Question 2

Mattelhas been keen on promoting ethical and legal conduct among itsmanufacturers by placing high standards for them to meet. The firmstipulates a strict adherence at all times to details concerning thequality of its products. However, the company has been a bitineffective in its follow-up activities. Mattel is not thorough inits audit of manufacturer processes to confirm that they are alwaysadhering to their terms of contract (Peijuan, Ting &amp Pang, 2009).It seems to rely significantly on the manufacturers’ goodwill.Given such a scenario, consumers may get hurt before Mattel discoversa breach. A proper adjustment for Mattel to improve its efficiencywould be posting of personnel directly answerable to it to themanufacturer’s premises. The primary role of such staff would be tokeep a constant check on the activities of the manufacturer andreport any unusual events that may have the potential of compromisingthe quality of its products. Another solution entails liaising withthe relevant quality control authorities of the jurisdictions withinwhich their manufacturer is located to have them help in ensuringcompliance.

Answerto Question 3

Mattelbears significant responsibility for the events that befell itsChinese toy production. The company had failed to put in place apolicy regarding the involvement of subcontractors hired by themanufacturers. Mattel failed to check on the quality of the productsbefore allowing them to reach the market. There was negligence onMattel`s part given that its image was at stake each time the toyshit the market, yet it never took steps to confirm their quality(Peijuan, Ting &amp Pang, 2009). To avoid such issues, they neededto have taken samples of the product each time a new batch ofmanufacturing components was used to ensure that the product met therequired standards. The firm also needs to vet any entity thatcontributes to the production of its goods. Such entities shouldregularly be audited to ensure they maintain high-quality standards.


Ferrell,O. C., &amp Fraedrich, J. (2014). Businessethics: Ethical decision making &amp cases (10th ed.). Ohio, OH: South-Western College Pub.

Peijuan,C., Ting, L. P., &amp Pang, A. (2009). Managing a nation`s imageduring crisis: A study of the Chinese government`s image repairefforts in the “Made in China” controversy. PublicRelations Review,35(3),213-218.

Retailers:Product Safety and Your Responsibilities. (2017). Retrieved17 March 2017, from–Manufacturing/Business- Education/Business-Guidance/Retailers-Product-Safety-and-Your-Responsibilities