The largest toy company

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Mattel is the world's largest toy company, founded in 1945 by Harold Matson and Handler, and is credited with establishing the Barbie product line. Mattel's products include Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, Masters of the Universe, American Girl dolls, board games, and video game consoles. Mattel also produces action figures and toys based on Walt Disney films and Harry porter series. Mattel using its workforce management, tried to focus on its strategic goals using Robert Eckert as the CEO after his take over from Jill Barad. This report will be focussed on the key elements, models and theories used by Eckert.

Key elements of Mattel's HRM strategy

  • Leadership development
  • succession planning
  • Performance management

Mattel's HRM strategy in relations to relevant theories and models and the current external environment


Leadership Development is an expansion of a person's capacity to be effective in leadership's roles and processes. Leadership roles and processes are those that facilitate setting direction, creating alignment, and maintaining commitments in groups of people who share common work (McCauley et al, 2003).

Mattel's vision through Eckert 'proposed ambitious initiatives that will motive the workforce more skilled and competitive workforce, establish metrics to understand how the workforce was performing and set up a systematic succession strategy that would enable the company to retain its home-grown talent'.


Effective succession planning helps ensure the stability of the tenure of personnel. It is perhaps best understood as any effort designed to ensure the continued effective performance of an organisation by making provision for the development, replacement, and strategic application of key people overtime (Roth well, 2005)

Eckert tried to set up a systematic succession strategy that can be useful to Mattel in other to retain its home grown talent. The executives were responsible for identifying probable leaders within the organisation, and the succession planning process encouraged administrative strategic positions to exchange the information with one another.


A Performance management tracking tools helps manage employees, supervisors, and departments based on actual objective performance standards instead of subjective guesswork. Performance tracking defines performance standards for employees, supervisors, and managers and measures actual performance against standards. The performance management model offers many practical suggestions and solutions that helps human resource managers in drifting a model suiting to their organisations and objectives and cultural ethos (Kandula, 2004).

Eckert picked up by lunching with employees in the cafeteria, led to the creation of a sophisticated workforce training system, which is not a standalone strategy. Prior to Eckert, Mattel did not have a defined structure in place. A few days at the company had revealed, that employees groups were disjointed and motivated. Eckert distinct culture, language and ways of doing business, instead of close knit commitment and strong group dynamics. These were disconnected subcultures, brewing discord and inefficiencies. Eckert proposed ambitious limitations that would motivate the workforce and give it more discipline. The idea was to create the 3 key elements (leadership development, succession planning, and performance tracking). This leadership development according to Eckert was to create tangible development programme that would generate a more skilled and a competitive workforce established metrics to understand how the workforce was performing and set up a systematic succession strategy that would enable the company to retain its home grown talent

Mattel human resources strategy faces lots of external environmental issues, based on:

  • Market
  • Competition
  • Technology
  • Economic

MARKET: Mattel as a company faces lots of problems, the market for toys were unstable in some countries e.g USA. CEO Gill barrad in 1999, decided against a cost cutting strategy to shore up profits, instead he focussed on workforce management to turn the ailing company around. The Mattel company was beyond its region all round the world not considering (PEST) Political, Economical, Social, and Technological, in regions where the company expanded to in the acquisition of other toy makers companies, so as to remain the leading toys makers in market despite their lacklustre.

COMPETITION: Organisations compete with Mattel, offering a wide selection of toys and have scale advantages in purchasing, manufacturing, distributing, selling and marketing. Smaller companies compete by specialising in a merchandise segment, such as educational choice or responding faster to market trends

Technology: Has greatly influenced demand for electronic toys and toys that respond to and interact with children. As children gravitate towards video games and electronics at younger ages. Toy manufacturers have integrated computers into traditional toys to improve play value and remain competitive. The internet is also used to post news releases, videos to create a degree of transparency of mattel.

Economic: Mattel had struggled to expand worldwide to improve its output to create employments and to meet its strategic objectives.
and give it more discipline. The idea was to create tangible development programmes that would generate a


Mattel as an organisation faced a lot of potential issues. The company actually wanted an appropriate balance between the 'federal powers' that is Mattel as a company and the ' states power 'which is the individual units. Eckert as a company tried to merge various divisions to suit the individual business units that they can carry out a successful performance management, and succession using the guidelines but a degree of personalisation units. Some issues were communication gap between the federal and the states; they tend to concentrate more on their local issues than on the federal.