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Case 8: Mattel and Toy SafetyTEACHING NOTE FOR:MATTEL AND TOY SAFETY This case illustrates the following themes and concepts discussed in the chapters listed:Theme/ConceptChapterCorporate social responsibility3Ethics and ethical reasoning4Global corporate citizenship6Government regulation of business8Consumer protection15Managing public relations19Case Synopsis:In 2007, Mattel issued a series of recalls of children’s toys manufactured in China. Someof the toys were coated with dangerous lead paint, and others contained small but powerful magnets that could cause intestinal blockage or perforation if swallowed. The recalls alarmed parents and consumer activists, as well as the toy industry, retailers who marketed their products, and product safety regulators in both China and the United States. The case describes the toy recalls and presents excerpts from testimony given by a range of concerned stakeholders at a U.S. Senate hearing in September, 2007. It challenges students to consider how business and society can best assure the safety of children’s toys.TEACHING TIP: VIDEOSOn August 8, 2007, following the first Mattel recall, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (the PBS news program) ran an interview segment, moderated by Jeffrey Brown, on toysafety. Brown interviewed Nancy A. Nord, acting commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; Don Mays, senior director for product safety with Consumers Union, and Eric Johnson, a professor of management at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. The segment is available as streaming video from PBS at:On December 20, 2007, the NewsHour ran another segment on toy safety, hosted by Paul Solman, focusing on the dangers of lead paint. The segment included interviews with Nancy A. Nord, Don Mays, Deborah Cory-Slechta (a neurotoxicologist), Jessica Reyes (a specialist in the effects of lead), Julie Vallesse of the Consumer Products Safety Commission, and Jerry Storch of Toys R Us. It is available on the DVD that accompanies this text, and at: Case 8-1
Case 8: Mattel and Toy SafetyTEACHING TIP: WHERE TO USE THE CASE IN THE COURSEThis case is integrative, in that it draws on many themes of the text. It may be used at the end of the course as a final, integrative assignment; or with the study of Chapter 15 (consumer protection) (in which case the instructor should refer back to earlier work onsocial responsibility, ethics, and government regulation. Discussion Questions: