USAA: Working Military Style

By Kenzie Fischer

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is a Texas- based financial services group that offers banking, investing, and insurance to people and families that serve, or who have served, in the United States military. The purpose of this case study is to look deeper into the USAA and find what their qualities are and to also describe the training USAA employees undergo.

One of the main qualities of USAA is “Keep our membership and mission first.” This means that the company aims to protect enterprise performance and prioritize and make smart adjustments to best support their membership and mission. They also want to achieve their goals with personal accountability. The second aspect of USAA is, “Live our core values: Service, Loyalty, Honesty, and Integrity.” USAA wants to embrace their values as common ground with their members, co- workers, and community. They expect their employees to be a positive representative for USAA inside and outside of the workplace (The USAA Standard, 2015).


The third quality is, “Be authentic and build trust.” USAA’s employees should be aware that their words and actions should be consistent throughout all situations, communicating with honesty and empathy. In order to build trust between employees, they need to keep all of their commitments. “Create conditions for people to succeed” is the next quality of USAA. In order to make their company the best it can be, their employees need to have clear communication, and share their ideas within the team, encouraging others to problem- solve (The USAA Standard, 2015).

The fifth quality is “Purposefully include diverse perspectives for superior result.” USAA employees are divided into equally diverse teams to include different perspectives and viewpoints. The company then tests the new ideas and alternative viewpoints. The final standard is to “Innovate and build for the future.” While in their teams, the employees discuss problems and brainstorm questions that improve or simplify work, which makes it easier for co- workers and members to do business with the company (The USAA Standard, 2015).

The USAA standard incorporates aspects of all perspectives of ethical decision making. Although all of the USAA’s qualities coincide with ethical decision making, they seem to mostly align with the Relationship- Based perspective. This perspective means that ethical behavior is achieved through open and honest communication within the workplace. The long- term relationships replace the commonly competitive buyer/ seller markets with “domesticated” markets; instead of competing with one another, the companies behave like team members (Sharma, 2001).

The most unique style USAA uses to teach their standards to their employees is called the “boot camp” program. This ten week program forces employees to undergo military style exercise sessions multiple times a day and eat military meals for lunch (Fleurke, 2009). This “boot camp” program’s goal is to help employees understand what their customers go through/ went through and build respect.

For my critical analysis, I have designed a code of ethics for Pizzazz, Baton, Pom, and Dance Studio, where I work for my mom as a professional dance coach. This code is made up of seven ethical standards:

  1. The teacher must create and maintain a professional image. The creation and maintenance of a professional image imposes on the teacher a number of professional and ethical responsibilities, some of which I will explain later in this Code of Ethics.
  2. An educator’s first professional duty is to the enhancement of the quality of dance education provided to the students in his/ her charge. The educator must strive to improve his/ her techniques for teaching all types of dance, especially as modified or revised in accordance with the progress of dance education. Teachers should make a constant effort to improve professionally through continual study.
  3. The teacher shares a collective responsibility by working for Pizzazz, to uphold its goals and standards, and to abide by its policies. A teacher or group of teachers cannot make unauthorized representations to outside people or other organizations.
  4. It is the educator’s responsibility to maintain relationships with students, assistants, and employees on a professional basis. Pizzazz recognizes the unique trust placed in the student- teacher relationship. This relationship should also include the teacher’s assistants and employees.
  5. All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with students are unethical, even when students invite or consent to such behavior.
  6. Pizzazz recognizes that a higher standard of personal behavior is expected of an educator because students, assistants, and employees perceive the teacher as an example of integrity. The personal behavior of a teacher should be legal, ethical, and moral; appropriate assistance should be sought by the teacher for personal problems or conflicts. The teacher’s behavior should always reflect that the teacher is aware that he/ she is considered an example to students, assistants, and employees.
  7. Any advertising, including announcements, public statements, or promotional activities, should not misrepresent professional qualifications or contain any false, misleading, deceptive, or unfair statements.

The objective of this Code of Ethics is to enable dance educators and their students to meet for a cooperative and collective session. We aim to advance the art of dance and improve the practices. Pizzazz strives for the mutual interest and cooperation of its students.


Fleurke, X., (January, 2009). Walking a mile in the shoes of your customer. Business Roundtable: Institute for Corporate Ethics. Retrieved from

McGregor, J., (1, September, 2005). Employee innovator: USAA. Fast Company Magazine. Retrieved from

Sharma, M. V., (2001). Industrial and Organizational Salesforce Roles: A Relationship- Based Perspective. Retrieved from

Shevory, K., (1, September, 2014). Boot camp for bankers. The New York Times. Retrieved from

The USAA standard (2015) [PDF Document]. Retrieved from


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