Business Case Studies, Managing in Troubled Times Case Study, Mattel's Product Recalls (B), Managing the Crisis

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Managing in Troubled Times Case Study

Case Title:

Mattel's Product Recalls (B): Managing the Crisis

Publication Year : 2008

Authors: Sai Prasanna, Rajendar Singh Rathore

Industry: Toys


Case Code: TRT0073

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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A sequel to Mattel's Product Recalls (A): The Chinese Imbroglio this case study deals with Mattel's series of recalls in August-September 2007, just before the peak holiday-selling season. It highlights the media and public onslaught, the initial blame-game between Mattel and the Chinese manufacturers, its CEO, Robert Eckert's public apology and his personal handling of the crisis. What is interesting to discuss here is that with a significant impact on Mattel's reputation and sales during Christmas season, how would it regain its lost consumer trust? With majority of its toy production coming from China, how would Eckert revive the tainted image of China-made products?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To analyse Mattel's method of crisis-handling
  • To understand the role of public relations and media, as an effective tool in communicating the recall information
  • To examine the role of leadership in managing the crisis
  • To identify effective ways of handling such crisis.

Keywords : Robert Eckert; Public Apology; Design Related Recalls; Manufacturing Related Recalls; Safety Check and Quality Control Systems; Media and Public Relations in Handling Crisis; Renaissance of 'Made in USA'; Tainted 'Made in China' Image; Crisis Management; Role of Leadership in Managing Crisis; Managing in Troubled Times Case Study; Recall Impact on Reputation and Performance


  • Mattel's Spate of Recalls in 2007
  • The Fingerpointing – Mattel vs Chinese Manufacturers
  • Mattel's Way of Handling the Toy Crisis
  • The Impact and the Future Outlook
  • Fall of 'Made in China and Renaissance of 'Made in USA'

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