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How Mattel’s Barbie Lost the War against the Bratz Doll

Mattel’s Barbie vs Bratz Doll
Decision-making is an essential task that a manager should perform with the highest level of concern. Good decision-making means that the business is booming but when choices are poorly made it is the worst experience ever. For instance, in Mattel’s case study, it is clearly evident how cognitive errors made by the managers can result in the collapse of an established company. The first cognitive error that was made by the Mattel’s managers was improper satisficing. It entails laying down the levels of aspirations so that when facing complicated challenges or a cognitive limitation, an alternative decision is always available (Forman & Selly n.d.). In this case study the managers of Mattel’s company broke one of the most crucial rules of cognitive decision-making. This decision made the managers encounter difficulties when making a decision on what to do when the MGA Entertainment’s Bratz doll was released. They went ahead and came up with desperate strategies while their competitor was busy dominating their market. The desperate move to come up with the “Flava” and “My scene” eventually flopped. Had they done proper satisficing before, the MGA Entertainment would not pose a significant challenge to their company because they would have an alternative decision to reach their desired levels. Today, the business environment dictates that businesses should have managers that make decisions rapidly since the world is dynamic.

The second mistake they made was resistance to change. The world is dynamic, and every person in the world should accept this and embrace changes. The Mattel’s managers believed that the Barbie’s success in satisfying the needs of their customers was everything they needed. Being the top selling doll and the most profitable product of their company, they would have come up with the same doll but with different attributes just for a change. Perhaps, this would have made the customers stick to their product because it would suit their ever-changing needs. The cognitive decision-making rule of incremental change states that it is very easy for one to stick to a previous decision by slightly making changes to solve the problem faced. However, it is precarious to make the changes in times of crucial decisions (Forman & Selly, n.d.). If Mattel’s managers had developed the habit of making changes to their doll, they would have observed ample feedback from their market and at the time of the Bratz doll challenge, they would be in a position to resort to a better doll that would pose a good competition to the Bratz doll instead of the “Flava” and “My Scene” lines of dolls that flopped.

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Mattel’s company experienced the rise again because they observed the cognitive decision-making rule of analog and adages. Forman and Selly (n.d.) describe this practice as resorting to some old decisions that worked by brainstorming on those analog decisions, evaluating their success and embracing them. For instance, after Mattel’s company won the case before MGA Entertainment company appealed. They resorted to the idea of bringing back Barbie by telling their customers “Barbie is back.” This idea worked and the sales boomed hence the profits of the company increased. It is evident that the profits increased by 86% in 2010’s spring. This is due to a good decision made by managers that is resorting to a working plan that proved successful in the past.

Another crucial mistake in decision-making that Mattel’s managers made was being over-confident with their judgment. Over-confidence in one’s judgment is described as failure to collect all factual data in the ground and assume that one’s decision and point of view is the perfect one (Forman & Selly, n.d.). In Mattel’s case, it is evident that their judgment that Barbie’s specifications were the best despite the changing needs of the customers led them astray. They were also overconfident that the production of Bratz doll copyrights was theirs. This was proved otherwise by the federal courts after the MGA Entertainment Company appealed to the court to defend their position. Eventually, Mattel’s company lost the case. If they viewed Bratz doll production copyrights from a different perspective the case would be different. They would not have indulged in a tough tag of war with MGA that had a negative impact on the image of the company.

It is the responsibility of CEO’s in any big organization to provide a conductive environment for the rest of the staff in the organization. This can be done by managers providing necessary conditions so that innovativeness can be achieved in terms of quality provision. When such a working environment is created for the workers, they can take it positively and come up with creative ideas that can lead to the betterment of an organization. For example, In Mattel’s company setting, the Barbie dolls could not be matched by any other dolls of competitors. The creativity and innovativeness of the designers made other competitors experience sleepless nights. They had the best designers, and the good working environment put in place by the top management also played its role. This is the reason of why MGA Entertainment Company hired the top designers from Mattel’s company who designed the Bratz doll that brought MGA lots of profits. In a nutshell, it can be concluded that a good working environment created by the top management can enhance innovativeness.

From a different point of view, it can be deduced that over-reliance on one’s assumption in an organizational culture is wrong. The case study of Mattel clearly depicts a kind of company where managers over-rely on their assumptions rather than being open-minded. It is the obligation of the top management in the executive position to impart a positive culture to their juniors. This is done to make employees have a welcoming attitude to competitors. Healthy competition such as the one posed by MGA Entertainment to Mattel was necessary. It was like a wake-up call for those managers to think big. This competition was also necessary because it protected the Barbie doll consumers from exploitation. For instance, with the introduction of Bratz doll that was sold better than Barbie provoked Mattel’s managers to think.

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On the other hand, the battle for the most profitable and famous Bratz doll was not ended by the MGA Entertainment company. The managers of this company can be described as focused and goal-oriented. They were responding to issues with the content that was deserved. For instance, they never gave up after the Mattel’s company menace in regard to their Bratz doll. They proceeded to the federal courts for appeal and their efforts bore some fruits. It is the responsibility of CEO’s. If a company understands its own weaknesses and strengths, it is up to them to make an informed analysis of their decision. By doing so, they will be in a position to identify the heuristic biases and be in a better position to make the best decision, just like MGA Entertainment managers.

It can be concluded that conflict management is a very crucial skill that all the managers should have. In any business environment, competition should not be confused with conflict. Managers should understand that competition can also result in conflict if poorly handled. Therefore, competition should be handled positively and in a way that will not result in a conflict. At some point, conflict can be viewed positively as an opportunity for managers to participate in decision-making (Pinto, 1998). In a competitive business atmosphere such as the one between Mattel’s and MGA Entertainment, conflict is inevitable. This, therefore, calls for the executive to be always prepared even when they have to make tough decisions. One should not wait for the conflict to push them to a corner because it is risky and can lead to poor decision-making.