Since 1945, Mattel has been the biggest manufacturer of toys in the world. However, it was launched in 1960 and since then, it has been doing fabulous in the market. The company has been competing with other competitive global toy industries and its demands have been dependent on the customer's needs taste and preferences. The company occupies a major chunk of the doll business which amounts to more than $10 billion every year. Its world famous Barbie dolls which holds more than 50% share profit gives the company a competitive advantage over other companies. Most mothers especially those that played with Barbie preferred dolls for their daughters since the dolls had an ultimate image of women. However, the sales of Barbie has recently become stagnated since in the advancing world, customers taste to keep on changing and the cultural view of women is taking a paradigm shift. For instance, in the late 1990s, girls were more into pop icons including the Britney Spears than they were for Barbie (Nash & Duvall, 2005). For some time there was a good competitive intelligence within the management that girls wanted a bolder, hipper Barbie but they failed to act on the idea.
The upper management of Mattel was accountable for the slow decision making regarding changes to Barbie. Perhaps they were more overconfident in the achieved success they had with Barbie and became more complacent to all the changes that took place in the marketplace. Since the introduction of Barbie, women, and girls have gone through many changes especially from their traditional roles in their culture. As these occurred, so did their preferences on the purchase of dolls occurred. Mattel could have responded to these changes and meet the target of its buyers but they ended up acting very slow. They saw no need of changing the image of Barbie since they thought it will be a regular gold mine even in the future. However, they were sorely surprised when Bratz dolls came along which gave new meaning to girls as they got what they wanted. Mattel started to update the looks of their Barbie dolls but it failed as they failed to recognize the changing needs and standards of customers hence they became outdone by other companies.
One way that contributed to the slowness of Mattel in its process of decision making is an illusion of control. This made managers to overrate the scope of their control over the condition as they were overconfident in the continual achievement of the Barbie doll. Their confidence was based on previous success and this made them not to acknowledge vital changes in the environment. They thought that in case there was a challenge to the success of Barbie, they were more than ready to overcome it but this was not the case. Ego also contributed highly to the slowness of decision making in Mattel. The managers thought that they were the best in the doll market and no one could outdo them. They did not put into consideration the ever-changing preferences of their target buyers and even keeping their existing customers happy.
Factors that Promoted Mattel to move positively
In every company, there are factors that influence the mood and atmosphere of the business and its creativity. In Mattel, cognitive recognition contributed highly making the company move in a positive direction. This allowed the managers and employees to be aware of the changes that were taking place. The management department took the accountability to embrace and adapt to new changes and kept the employees informed at all time in case of any changes (Gareth, 2013). They were able to flex and bend in the changing environment hence running the company smoothly.
If the managers could have been able to foster on innovation, it could have helped Mattel overcome some of the challenges. With these, the managers could have been able to come up with new modifications that could have outdone the Bratz dolls. If the environment could have allowed them to work creatively, they could have been able to face the risky challenges that were surrounding them hence moving in a positive direction (McLaughlin, Bessant & Smart, 2014). Therefore, to compete in the market and be able to make the needed changes, there was a need for them to adopt the new strategies for innovation and creativity.
Gareth R, J. (2013). Organization theory design and change (7th Ed.).
McLaughlin, P., Bessant, J., & Smart, P. (2014). Developing an organizational culture to facilitate radical innovation. International Journal of Technology Management, 44(3/4), 298. http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/ijtm.2008.021041
Nash, K. S., & Duvall, M. (2005). How Barbie Lost Her Groove. Baseline, (47), 36-52.
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