The USAA: An Example to Follow

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By Reagan Wheeler

The purpose of this case study is to talk about USAA’s organizational culture and describe how the USAA trains their employees to understand its costumer base of unique needs. USAA is an insurance and financial services company. They attend to men and women in the military and their families (Insurance, n.d.).

The USAA has six qualities that it stands by called the USAA Standard. The first of the six is “keep our membership and mission first.” This means that they will protect the enterprise performance, reputation and brand above their own personal, unit or CoSA goals. This states that they also make it priority to support the membership and mission while making smart trade-offs and accomplishing goals with a lot of personal accountability. Being a consistent learner in multiple areas is a huge part of this quality so that each of their members’ changing needs is clearly noticed.

The next quality is “live out core values: service, loyalty, honesty, integrity.” The organization strives to follow the core values and use them as a bond with their members, community, and coworkers. Following these values gives a positive view of the USAA inside the organization as well as on the outside. They hold themselves to the USAA Code of Conduct and try to always act in an ethical way. Thirdly, is the “be authentic and build trust” quality. The employees at USAA make sure that their words and actions in every situation are honest and compassionate. Keeping their word is something they hold themselves to with every commitment they make. Each person respectfully shares theirs ideas for solving a certain problem or learning (The USAA…, n.d.).

“Create conditions for people to succeed” is the fourth quality of the USAA Standard. In this quality the organization works to be transparent in communication and to actively share information to their team to give others the encouragement to solve problems. They all contribute new ideas to a team environment that is supportive. Looking to give employees who are closest to the current work decision-making opportunities. The next is “purposefully include diverse perspectives for superior results.” The organization wants their employees to take many different perspectives into consideration so that they can get the best results possible. They are then told to test all the new solutions and pick which one they think would work best and move on together. There is a model to follow while doing this. They need to look at the opportunities and risks and then apply the business side and then decide what the best choice is for the member (McGregor, 2012).

The last quality in the USAA Standard is “innovate and build for the future.” With this one the organization wants their employees to freely and openly talk about things that can make the company better. This makes it easier and simpler to work with other coworkers and members. Bringing forward big ideas and supporting change shows that the company is confident in their ability to perform and produce. They are always trying to take smart risks and constantly watch for opportunities that would allow them to make things better (Shevory, 2014).

These qualities align with the Foundational Perspective of decision-making. The USAA has their own explicit code of ethics and follows them to make sure they have acceptable behaviors. It also takes on the situational perspective because they empower their employees to make in-the-moment decisions. The utilitarian perspective states that ethical behavior is determined by one’s actions not intentions. I think that the USAA follows this kind of perspective. They definitely use the relationship-based type of perspective where open and honest communication with the public is how ethical behavior is accomplished. This unique type of training helps the employees of the USAA to act and work ethically by encouraging them, allowing them and teaching them to work together in an ethical way. When they practice working with their coworkers in this way they are preparing themselves and training themselves to work that same way with their members (Fleurke, n.d.).

The four ethical standards I would have for the organization in which I work are Honesty, Loyalty, Respect, and Understanding. I choose honesty for obvious reasons. I don’t want to work in a place that isn’t honest with its costumers or me. I would also want the company I work for to have a standard of loyalty; loyalty to the values they hold their employees to and to what they believe. This is important to me personally in my own life and I think it would important to have that in an organization. I think respect is important in a business environment. If there is no respect between employer and employee then there would be nothing accomplished and no one would be productive. Lastly, I chose understanding to be one of the ethical standards in the company where I work. I chose this because everyone needs to try and be understanding of one another. If no one tries to understand each other’s point of view or ideas then there would be constant conflict within the culture of the company. That’s why I would choose these four standards to follow.


Fleurke, B. X. (n.d.). Menu. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from

INSURANCE | BANKING | INVESTMENTS | RETIREMENT. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from|g|ent|brn| usaa|bd|search|awareness|mbm|46370285|VQ16-c|VQ6-71054858292

McGregor, J. (2012). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from

Shevory, K. (2014). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from

The USAA Standard. (n.d). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


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