The Business Environment At The Mattel Company


Mattel's is one of the largest toy companies in the world. With the changing global business environment, Mattel's has changed their strategy accordingly. For first few years Mattel's has faced lot of ups and downs in their business but from year 2000 it has shifted in to a new era of its business strategy. One man has made the difference is know as Eckrat the new CEO. In this particular paper the researcher has demonstrate the changing HRM strategy for Mattel's. The researcher conduct his research based on a case study about Mattel's Workforce Strategy. In this particular paper the researcher constitute several issues such as employee training and development, performance management, succession planning. He also demonstrates the changes that put impact to Mattel's overall business strategy due to performance management. The researcher also integrated different HRM elements with organizations objectives and goals.

Identify the key elements of Mattel's HRM strategy. Critically evaluate the HRM strategy in relation to relevant theories and models and the current external environment. What potential issues does the company face in balancing the organizational HRM strategy with divisional 'personalization' of it?


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Because of Globalization and changing organizational environment, Human Resource Management has become a pervasive and influential approach to the management of employment as well as overall organization management process. The rational approach to Human Resource paves the way for strategic Human Resource Management. Its central notion is based on the environmental outlook which expresses long term strategy and tools that need to plane Human Resource activities (Beardwell I & Holden L 2003). In the recent development of management strategy, HRM and Business Strategy are often move on the same path and also match each other which treats employees as a strategic resource that process skills and expertise increase organization's competitive advantages. In this particular paper, the researcher constitute the key elements of Mattel's' HRM or Workforce strategy which reflect on different HRM theory and model considering the current external environment. The researcher also demonstrates the issues that might effect in balancing organizational HRM strategy with divisional personalization.

Key Elements of Mattel's HRM Strategy:

As a Global toy company, Mattel's has employee from different cultural background. Eckart the new CEO for Mattel's who joined in May 2000 has found that Mattel's has different branch, employee speak different language and from different cultural background (Verma M 2007) . As Mattel's did not have any proper written HR strategy, employees from different skill level work in the same group that was led the workforce to inefficiency. There was no specific objectives and goal for employees to follow, so employees were trying to accomplish their work in their own way (French W 2006). Eckart thought about to transform the inefficient workforce to efficient workforce by implementing several key elements of Human Resource Management Strategy. Following are the key elements that have been considered by Mattel's HR strategy.

Unifying Workforce:

At the beginning of Eckrat HR strategy, he concentrates on unifying company workforce round the World because of development and cultural gap. According to the HRM theory employee involvement is very important development. Ecktar try to bring his entire employee under one umbrella and encourage them to involve in different activities in HR learning process. He concentrates on sharing ideas between employees from different part of the world. Motivation is another important of unifying workforce in to a common goal. Setting individual as well as organizational objective towards desire goal, motivate workforce perform better and unify them towards that particular goal. For the purpose of unifying workforce, Eckrat took initiative to arrange seminar of 10 to 15 employees together(Verma M 2007). For the purpose of motivation Eckrat himself sometime attended the training and development program.

Training and development:

There are two key issues that need to integrated, which are corporate strategy with training and development. The first issue is training and education can put impact on organizations performance and second issue is training and development objectives should be directed by the top management (Roe A 2000). There are some key elements that should include training and development process with organizational goal and strategy. Management should provide general policies and procedure for implementing the training programs. They should provide administrative support and resources to enable managers and employees to commit themselves to the program. They also should build a culture that encourages a proactive value system towards training and development.

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For skilled and competitive workforce, Mattel's CEO Eckrat focused on tangible development of employees through training and development. As a part of training and development he founded a leadership training program. To encourage the employees Eckrat himself sometime attended several of training program which reflect the idea of top management support and commitment towards training and development program. As a part of Mattels training process Eckrat provides employee about 2000 online course towards different business related issues(Verma M 2007). Ecktrat also took iniciatives towards Global leadership training program not just for better performance but also to build up better working team. Eckrat tried to integrate those training and development program with his HRM strategy.

Performance Management:

Talent and performance management is another key issue that influences Mattel's HR strategy. Usually talent management consists the process such as recruiting, performance management, and career development succession planning and internal communication. Organization usually integrates these elements between recruitment and performance, succession and development and performance and compensation( Bacal R 1998). As far as performance management is concern Eckrat gave priority to these particular issues. Ecktat measure performance management by including himself to different division and different level of the organization. Eckrats performance management tools includes imposing set objectives and goal and 360 degree feedback process that led employee to understand their performance (Verma M 2007).


Succession planning was another concern of Mattel's HRM strategy, that in selection of talented employees as senior position to replace inefficient and aged managers who leave the firm because of retirement, reassignment, or other reasons (Armstrong M 2006). Usually the effectiveness of succession plan depends on the minimizing the disruption because of changes that might occur selection of new talents. Succession is a continuous manner for Mattels in respect of implementation of HR strategy as well as business objectives and goal. After joining Eckrat as a CEO, he emphasized on employee performance management followed by employee training and development. After implementing succession planning Eckrat allowed internal promotion based on the skill, training and talent. In the recent past the relationship between succession planning and HR has been rarely studied, even though succession planning is a long term development process for organization. Mattels has seriously considered succession planning as one of their key elements in regards of HR strategy.

Mattel's External Environment:

Mattels as one of the leading toy company has to overcome different external variables that might put impact on its overall HRM Strategy. Mattels is an organization that has production facilities all over the world. It is very difficult to maintain an appropriate supply chain because of external environment (Armstrong M 2006). As far as HRM strategy is concern, organization has to consider the following three external elements that might impact on overall business strategy (Marchington M & Wilkinson A 2008).

These are the three external elements are influencing HR strategy as well as overall business strategy. Mattels has production in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand; (Verma M 2007); as a result Mattels are facing different cultural effect in terms of employees. Mattels are also facing political and economical effect because of running business world wide. In recent days Mattels are facing economic effect as there are other company operates effectively in the market.

HRM strategy and divisional Personalization:

After Ecktrat took place as a CEO, Mattel's was facing lot of changes in terms of HRM Strategy. Eckrats HR strategy has put impact on divisional personalization as well. According to Eckrats HR strategy, career advancement opportunity has opened up in different division. Between 2000 and 2005, internal promotion has increased by 25% and another 75% of open place field by internal employees who attended different training and development program (Verma M 2007). HRM Strategy such as training, performance management and succession planning ingrained across Mattel's different division. Mattel's were trying to balance the strategic management process between federal power which the Mattel it self and state power which is the small business related to Mattel's. So Mattels introduce an overall standard HR strategy for all division with a little place for personalization if necessary.

Question 2:

With reference to relevant published sources and organizational examples, provide a critical analysis and review of the changes that were made to performance management within Mattel instigated by Eckert, the CEO. How can Mattel ensure the sustainability of its approach to performance management?


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Performance management, particularly a part of overall management process, has become a widespread practice in most of the organization. There are a large literature has been developed in this regard. Performance appraisal is the key part of performance management and can be defined as relating to organizational procedures with requires written assessments of employees to be carried out on a systematic basis at regular intervals. According to Randell et al (1974) provides an operational definition of performance management as any producer which helps the collecting, checking, sharing, giving and using of information collected from and about people at work for the purpose of adding to their performance at work.

Critical Analysis for Mattel's Performance Management:

In the recent trend of performance management, organizational performance activities depend on the investment on supplier development. The quality of that particular program based on local standards of product and services round the world. Company like Mattles has different sources respond with the World (Armstrong , M 2006). Organization like Dell and other are legalizing impact of underinvestment on their supplier development and performance monitoring. As some of the external variables are always effect on organization, it is very important to maintain world wide standard through performance review. As an global organization like Mattels has to be careful about the performance management, because if China or country next door can lead a catastrophic supply disruption because of poor performance , the whole process will be in disruption(Armstrong , M 2006). Mattel's faces lot of change in its operation because of implementing performance management. First changes it faced that training and development issues. The new CEO Cerate has put lot of emphasis on employee training and development as to enhance their performance. Training and development is a part of performance management. Performance based internal promotion to senior position is another changes that Mattel's faced during Eckrats new approach towards workforce development strategy.

The mentality of Mattel's employees is rapidly changed because of performance management. Mattel's has now got an efficient, skilled and sensible labor force that really makes difference in business. The changes in divisional personalization are key change for Mattel's, introducing an standard HR strategy by CEO Eckrat. There are lot of tools of performance management that has to implement with in Mattel's HR strategy such as objective and goals, measurement, training and development, leadership caching, performance based payment method and so on. These all elements have put an impact on Mattel's HR strategy. The significant changes that Mattel's faced were the employee's involvement towards their individual as well as company's objectives and goals.

An efficient organization, planned for work out in advance. Planning includes performance towards organization objectives and goals for both groups and individuals to channel their efforts toward achieving organizational objectives (Armstrong , M 2006). Getting employees involved in the planning process is important and significant part of performance management which will help them understand the goals of the organization, what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how well it should be done. The new CEO Eckrat has taken that challenge of integrating employee's skills with Mattel's objectives and goals. There is another challenge he took of monitoring the performance of different division without personalized them. All those activities made significant changes in Mattel's overall business strategy and Eckrat has been dealing it efficiently.


Mattel's is a perfect example for HRM development and Eckrat can be considered as a legend towards Mattel's success. By implementing all those elements of HRM, Mattel's become one of the dominating toy companies in the world.

Reference Cited:

Beardwell I & Holden L (2003); Human Resource Management: A contemporary Perspective; 4th Edition; Published by Pitman Publishing, Great Britain.

French W (2006); Human Resource Management; 6th Edition Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, New York

Armstrong M (2006); Human Resource Management Practice; 10th Edition Published by Kogan page; Milford, USA.

Marchington M & Wilkinson A (2008); Human Resource Management at Work: People Management and Development; 4th Edition; Chartered Institute of Personal and Development; London, UK.

Roe A (2000); Effective Planning in Training and Development; Kogan page Ltd

Bacal R (1998); Performance Management ; 1st Edition; McGraw Hill;

Armstrong , M (2006); Performance Management : Key strategy and Practical Guideline; 2nd Edition; UK Kogan Place

Verma M (2007); Mattels Workforce Strategy; Published in ICFAI Business School