Primary File


Jim Joseph, Tracy Couto, George Kulick
June 1, 2018
Latin & South America, North America
Strategy & General Management, Ethics & Social Justice
28 pages
Toluca, business, Le Moyne, mexico, NAFTA, Oneida Ltd.
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.7)
Average rating: 

Following Mexican President Carlos de Gortari Salinas’ late 1980’s trade liberalization policies, that ignited an onslaught of foreign direct investment and ultimately lead to the passage of NAFTA, Oneida Ltd. made the decision to quadruple the production capacity of their Toluca, Mexico flatware (spoons, forks, knives) factory. Following the initial team-on-the-ground’s failure to execute the new strategy, 30-year old Ed James was sent to Mexico in a last-ditch effort to salvage the situation. What ensues is a story of humane leadership and cross-cultural understanding punctuated with Oneida Mexicana, S.A. being awarded Mexico’s 1994 National Export Award. The citation read aloud at the Los Pinos (Mexico’s “White House”) ceremony where President Salinas presented the award to Ed James made direct reference to the respect for Mexican culture and dignified treatment of the workforce. It is important to note that the very same factory is alive and well today (2017).

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Articulate the dilemma faced by management in allocating talent
  • Compare and contrast corporate culture and societal culture
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an autocratic leadership style vs. a transformational leadership style
  • Describe the planning required in order to have effective communication between management and employees
  • Assess the efficacy of a collaborative style of conflict resolution
  • Describe how an effective leader gains visibility for their project in a large organization
  • Outside of a personal skill set, summarize other elements necessary to change a toxic culture



Toluca is an example of how a company can chenge with the correct leadership


The case is reach in content and data. Illustrates how good actions and great leadership can deliver good results.


Toluca is a case that involves international business and having the ability to connect with other cultures to accomplish a common goal. Toluca provides examples of how just because you do something in a different way than someone else doesn't mean that your way is better. This case brings about a discussion focused on how to be consistent in an organization with cultural intelligence. Toluca is an intriguing case that allows me to understand international business in a more clear way.


Admittedly, Toluca isn’t your typical CSR or Business Ethics. However my students and I found it both intriguing and relevant, particularly with respect to internal stakeholder management and issues of trust. We were able to debate and discuss the merits and value of strategic social responsibility, especially in the context of complex international environments. Both the students and I, after reading and reviewing this case, felt more informed about servant leadership and its implications to business and virtuous management. It clearly helped us to simultaneously think socially and strategically and positioned us advantageously for the rest of our course.