Jim Joseph, Tracy Couto, George Kulick
Special Issue of the Journal of Case Studies with the Global Jesuit Case Series
June 01, 2018
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).