USAA

The purpose of this case study is to study and research of a company. This case study will allow us to discover the company’s culture, reputation, how the employees handle ethical and unethical decisions. Ultimately these are vital things to research in a company. Also while doing research on this company we will dissect how USAA employees handle ethical, and unethical decision making. Decision making within the employees are essential because sometimes it can destroy a company’s reputation, and the amount of money lost after. While doing research on USAA it was clear that they provide an unique employee training session to help their decision making within the company.

USAA is a fortune five hundred company that has established an firm reputation since the company was founded. USAA is abbreviated for United services Automobile Association. Originally when the company was founded it was called the United States Army Automobile Association. It wasn’t until 1924 when the name was changed to United Service Automobile Association when commissioned officers from other military became eligible for membership.  At this time this was a quality innovation change for the company. This allowed the USAA to expand vastly. Quickly shortly USAA opened up offices in Germany, London, and England.  The company was formed off a meeting of twenty five Army officers to discuss a strong and reliable economical and auto insurance.

As stated you can see why USAA is highly recommended, and why it is arguably one the best all-around company’s. There are many reasons we can justify to state why USAA is so great. One of the main components that were appropriate to take into consideration is their organizational culture.  The culture requires some specific qualities that are abide by the USAA standard. It’s an equal opportunity and affirmative, it allows an employer to give consideration on applicants, no matter the race, color, nationality, religion, or sex. This brings a dynamic piece to the company because their staff is diversified. USAA align with the standard with the perspective of an ethical decision because the bond and relationship the employees of USAA have is remarkable. They enter training together, and they change people’s lives as well. An employee of USAA making an ethical decision would take a lot of time of pondering because the reputation of the company is very vital relationship as whole company.  Majority of USAA employees have some sort of army personnel previous. The employees face an intense unique training process. During this process the employees learn the perspective of the customers they serve. The training is essentially a boot camp in other words. While undergoing the training they are given strict orders, and heavy gear to wear. This training is vital because it allows the employees to get a sense of how important their job is. With this type of training it will be very difficult to make an ethical decision.

The training of the employees are serious, and the four ethical decision making plays a significant role in the process. One of the standard reasoning for this process is the boot camp. The training allow the future employees to understand the importance of what their job requires. I would require a training method similar because it prepares the employees in the best way possible. These training methods will allow the employees to make a better decision if the run into a situation where they have to make an ethical decision.  

Company’s need to take USAA employee training into consideration. USAA displayed why their employees have a great relationship and why they stick together. It is a good preparation because it prepares the employees in the best way possible to act accordingly when they face an ethical or unethical situation. USAA have displayed tremendous relationship between the employees and the company.

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Original Case Study

 

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Today as a country we have move forward together in the industrial, manufacturing, and industry. Job opportunities for citizens are at an alarming rate, and we are moving forward as a country. Some of the most successful corporations that we see everywhere have a strict employee policy. This allows the corporation to have a sense of control of their employees.  Employees have to follow a server protocol in order to keep their job. They have access to confidential information, and even if the ethical decision is right, due to that protocol you cannot say anything. This theory is referred to as Whistle blowing. Many people have their different opinions about whistle blowing, but most will refer it to as back stabber or trader.

Whistleblowing occurs when an employee exposes a wrongdoing about their company. It has many negative effects, but sometimes it is the moral thing to do. I personally feel that whistle blowing is the right thing to do. I believe that if something is going to endanger the general public, then there is only one option. Whistle blowing is becoming more and more common these days, but in most cases, it has devastating effects. Several of these people had to find new jobs, relocate, or settle for less money in their new job. It can be very scandalous, often involving law- suits, but in some cases the whistle blower is looked at as hero, and sometimes earns money.
The main issue is if it is moral. Many people argue that you have obligations of loyalty to your colleagues and company. Some company’s may feel that it is family oriented, and they stick together. Corporations today are run with the expectations that they will function in ways that are compatible with the public interest. But in some cases, their main concern is maximizing their profits and earning money. This plays a huge role because some corporations forget where they started and let the money motivate them negatively. This is when it can become disreputable.

Many companies deal with whistle blowing. Bank of America is one of those companies. Bank of America is an American multinational banking and financial services corporation. Bank of American is the second largest banking company in America. The headquarters are based in North Carolina and then the other buildings are base throughout the United States. The most important thing to Bank of America is their people. They set up benefit programs that are there to meet the diverse needs of the employees. These benefits help create a plan for the employees lives and their futures. The company prioritizes their employees, which causes the employees to work well to get the job done. The employees at Bank of America are given insurance, vacation time, sick days and many other benefits. The employees strive to create a welcoming environment at the bank. The world’s largest wealth management corporation is Bank of America. Though this company is a large leader in banks and management, they face a lot of issues and lawsuits. The issues that they face is whistleblowing.

When you talk about whistle blowing in a company you talk about going against the ethical standards in which the company has set for its employees. An example of Bank of America and whistleblowing is around 2008. There was a man who used to work for Countrywide until it was acquired by Bank of America. This man became a whistle blower against Bank of America. He started to expose the company’s secrets. The way in which the company dealt with that was with a lawsuit and a payout. Bank of America had to pay over 1 billion dollar as a penalty due to the information that the whistleblower exposed. The whistleblower was supposed to receive part of the money but since Bank of America was trying to overturn the ruling and say that what was said was not true, the money in which the whistleblower was supposed to receive is being withheld. The companies that have to deal with whistleblowers and the information that they expose try to just buy the words of the whistleblower. They try to fight the issues in court and just buy the silence. If the court trials do not end well then the companies just end up having to pay the price. The price for their actions often varies depending on the situation. Bank of America has dealt with multiple different whistleblowing situations. They have had to pay multiple lawsuits, and have had to pay different people to keep quite.

When dealing with whistleblowers many companies chose to fight back the information that was spread. In 2013 the company Bank of America fought back when the former employees accused them of encouraging homeowners into foreclosure instead of being a part of the government’s mortgage-relief program. This issue was taken to court and discussed to a lengthy amount. The company was fighting the whistleblowers to show that what they were exposed for did not really happen. They ended up settling an agreement to pay around $12 billion dollars as a settlement and to clean up their act. The way in which this court cases ended up is how most of the cases against whistleblowers end up. When companies fight against whistleblowers it is not so much if they will get off scotch free but how much money they are going to have to pay for as settlement. The problem with the whistleblowers is they expose the situation of the companies. Even though the companies pay off the settlement it does not take away the issues that were at hand. Once the secrets come out at the trials the people that go the bank or even work at the bank may start to leave. The settlement is just one of the ways that a company can deal with the whistleblowers and all that they have exposed about the company. It is through court trials or through lawyers that the companies solve the problems that they have with whistleblowers.

Through this study I have discovered new things about whistleblowing. I have learned how serious this can be, and also how the outcome isn’t always good for both sides. In this case bank of America had to learn the hard way about legal aspects ad doing the right thing.  It shows that sometimes owners start owing up to a little bit of greed and it turns out as a negative effect.

At the end of this study I have learned that you have to be cautious of what type of job you want. Some jobs come with holding confidential information no matter If it is right or wrong. In this case bank of America had to learn the hard way and pay the consequence of their wrong doing actions.  I am pleased to see the company continue to move forward and find ways to put this situation in the past. This study I learned the severity of whistleblowing.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/12/bank-of-america-foreclosure-whistleblower_n_3588374.html

 

strengths Finder

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Growing up I always had leadership characteristics, but I would tend to be shy a lot. Being a leader is not an easy commitment or task. Since a young age I’ve been playing sports, and I have always been the team captain. At a small age my mother installed leadership principles in me. My mother made it very clear that she is not raising no followers. Strengths finder has been a vital key component for me as I start my senior year. Strengths finder has been essential to me because outside of all the organizations I am involved in, strengths finder reminded me how good of a leader I am, and why it is important.  This personal analysis helped me identify five of my top strengths.

After taking the assessment strengths finder identified my five strengths. My five strengths are achiever, input, learner, competition, deliberative. These five strengths are accurate when you think of me as a leader. I am truly grateful for taking the strengths finder because it has allowed me to identify my strengths, and how I can apply it to the organizations I am involved in. Not only has it allowed me to identify my strengths, but also I’ve notice some things I can improve in. Being a leader during your young adulthood years are challenging because you deal with your peers ego’s, and also people’s negative criticism.

My first strength that was identified is achiever. As previously mentioned I have been playing sports since I was four. Always achieving, and doing my best has been a part of me since the beginning.  So, I have always had a sense of being a top achiever, but it really start having a meaning behind it for me when I start attending Ashland University. When I first arrived at Ashland University I faced a lot of obstacles. One of the obstacles I faced was I had a hard time interacting with others. It was a big culture shock for me. I was having hard time enjoying myself, and it was effecting my school work, and also my behavior. I was not achieving what I was capable of. Soon enough I immediately figured it out. Doing great things has always been within me. There was something that needed to be done for the young African American males that attended Ashland University. With that being said I created Brothers In Action to help create opportunity for the males here. The opportunity I wanted to create was a group to socialize together without it being difficult no matter what ethnicity you are. Another opportunity I wanted to create was brotherhood, and that would be so firm no one can deny it. I wanted to give males the opportunity to figure out what do they desire within the field they are studying. I wanted to make it clear to the members involved that we always want to achieve whatever we imagine. I achieved my goal by allowing this organization to form and impact so many people.

Motivating your peers can be more helpful for them than a lot of people realize. My second strength that was noticed was input. Giving out input can be good, and bad in some cases. My weakness would be sometimes I have tendencies to drift away to be low key, and nonverbal. That is something that I am working on every day, but when I do give out input it is essential for my peers. Majority of my peers approach me to give them input about certain situations, and I answer with a honest answer. I have no problem giving out input, I actually love giving out wisdom to others so they can benefit from it.  The best feeling is seeing someone take your input, and it works for them. Helping others to put them in a better situation than they were prior is an awesome thing to do. Selfish thinking, as well as selfish actions are never going to help you move forward as a person.

Learning is something that you want carry with you every day. Your mind should be open every day to learn something new. After taking the strengths finder, the third strength it identified was learner. I am open to learn new things about anything. One of my weakness was in the past I would not be open to learn about new things. Very quickly I learned that I need to change my ways. Shortly after I changed my ways, and ow I try to be a sponge to new information. As a sponge any new information I try to soak it all up, and understand the information. To be willing to learn in my opinion it comes with maturity. The more mature you are, and you understand how important learning new things are it can be beneficial for you.

Being the best at everything I was involved in that was my primary goal. I wanted to win in everything that competition was involved in. I learned the severity of being a competitor when I started playing youth football. My weakness was I was a sore loser, and sometimes I still am. Some will say it is a weakness, and some will say it’s a strength to not accept losing. When I shifted my focus into school, and organizations I still kept my strength as a competitor, I just implemented it into my studies. I love to compete, because I love to win. I compete with other organizations. Being competitive allows you to do your best, and not accept losing at all.

Last but not least my last strength was deliberate. I am very deliberate. Everything I do is for a reason. At this age I am at a point I am mature, and I understand what is at stake. Being deliberate can also be a good thing, but some will say it may be harsh for some. Deliberate is a good characteristic because it allows you to be straight forward. As previously stated I love giving people advice, so I have to deliberate.

After stating my top five strengths it gives me an idea of what type of leader I am. My top five strengths may work together because there are going to be sequences when I have to provide all of my strengths. I have got a chance to witness these characteristics to come into play. These characteristics were very effective in using. Leading is not easy it takes a lot of sacrifice, and you have to be understanding.

With Brothers In Action my leadership style is going to be effective. After taking this survey it has been essential, and I am going to suggest it to my members so they can find out what type of leader they are. Leaders lead by example not just what they say. My goal is have everyone that is involved in Brothers In Action to be key assets to Ashland University in the up most positively way.

Amazon and Its Employees

By Seth Ansell

 

This case study aims to analyze Amazon’s organizational relationship and how they structure communication between managers and employees. This case study reviews the Likert System 4 Management Approach model and attempts to identify which system Amazon uses, based on the company’s practices. This case study will also compare Amazon’s strategy to other similar competitor’s strategies. It will be discussed in detail whether this strategy seems to work for Amazon or if there is another strategy that the company could utilize instead.

There are many types of strategies and theories an organization can use to organize and structure itself. The Likert System 4 Management Approach describes four different types of management approaches that range from low to high concern for workers. The first system is the exploitative-authoritative type of management, which uses threats and fear to motivate employees within the organization. All communication within a company that uses this type of management is downward, employees under a manager can’t make suggestions to higher-ups. This system uses punishment to motivate workers. The communication that flows downward from managers is usually task based. This approach has high concern for task and low concern for the employee. System 2 is the benevolent-authoritative type of management which rewards employees when they complete tasks and uses punishments to motivate. While this system uses both punishments and rewards to motivate employees, it favors punishments. System 2 also mainly consists of downward communication but is more open to upward communication than the first system. Managers may rarely take subordinate’s suggestions seriously in this model, or the organization may say they allow upward communication just to appease employees (Avtigs, 2012).

System 3 of the Likert System 4 Management Approach is the consultative type. This manage approach uses rewards and punishment to motivate employees, and is more likely to favor rewards as means of motivation. This system is very open to upward communication and involves subordinates in the organization’s decision making process. Managers still have final say in the decision-making process, but subordinates still have a strong say within the organization. The final system is the participative type of management. This approach allows all upward communication and encourages subordinate involvement and input. This approach results in both high productivity and quality interpersonal relationships between subordinates and managers (Avtigs, 2012). Generally companies may not fall directly into one category, because the theory acts as a scale with organizations following somewhere between them (Dininni, 2011).

            Amazon started out as an online book store in 1995, but has evolved to be one of the biggest online retailer stores of all merchandise. In addition to being an online retailer giant, they are also known for online and technology services. They launched the Kindle e-reader, made their own tablet called the Kindle Fire, their own multimedia TV box system titled Amazon Fire TV, their own smartphone, and more. Amazon, like other tech giants, attempts to be innovative and produce unique groundbreaking services and products. This puts the company in direct competition with other online retailers and other innovative tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Amazon’s mission statement is “It’s our goal to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything at Amazon.com” (Pestleanalysis, 2016). Amazon tries to deliver the best experience it can to its customers, to the point where a very strict system of rules and policies is put into motion for Amazon employees. These set of policies sets Amazon between exploitative-authoritative system and benevolent-authoritative system on the Likert System scale.

Amazon has a very cutthroat corporate culture, were unlike other similar companies, employees are encouraged to harshly criticize each other’s decisions during meetings. It is encouraged to the point where Amazon’s internal phone directory has directions on how to send “secret feedback” to each other’s bosses (Kantor, 2015). This is an example of when upward communication is allowed in Amazon’s workplace culture. If it were not for this limited upward communication, Amazon would fit more closely to exploitative-authoritative system rather than in-between exploitative and benevolent.

Many employees at Amazon do not stay long unless they are very successful. If they are not superbly successful they are driven to quit or are outright fired. Amazon human resources calls it “purposeful Darwinism.”  Past employees said that they believed they had been let go unfairly for suffering from cancer, having a miscarriage, and other personal life crises. In one specific case, a woman was put on probation because Amazon claimed difficulties in her personal life was affecting her work goals. Her life difficulties were being diagnosed with breast cancer. Other employees were fired because their performance dropped after major negative life events and the company did not give the employees time to recover (Kantor, 2015).

The company also has started a project to learn how far it can push white-collar employees, sometimes bordering on the line of unacceptability. A past employee who worked on book marketing, said that “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.” Part of Amazon’s success is due to its method of extracting everything it can from their work force. It does this differently than other companies like Google and Facebook. At first glance, Amazon’s office campuses look like Google’s and Facebook’s with dog-friendly offices, mainly young employees, and up-beat posters. When it comes to how they handle employees, Amazon doesn’t claim to make pleasing employers an important task. Amazonians aren’t motivated with on-site gyms, buffets, cash handouts, or other incentives. Instead Amazon embraces frugality with bare-bone decorations, and even having employees pay for their own company cell phone and company travel expenses. In addition to not being motivated by incentives, Amazon frequently uses fear to motivate its employees. Amazon ranks all their employees, and at the end of each year, the employees at the bottom are purged (Rosin, 2015). This strong use of fear rather than using rewards as motivation is a large part of the benevolent and exploitative-authoritative approach. Because the only incentive Amazon uses to encourage employees is a good pay, they rely almost all on fear as a tool of motivation.

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Example of an Amazon Corporate Office. Photo Credit: Czechleaders.com

 

Amazon not only pushes their white-collar workers to their limits, but many of their blue-collar workers in their shipping plants as well. There are a lot of policies in place to stop employees from doing certain things. For example, employees are not allowed to use any product on the warehouse floor that was sold from Amazon, this makes certain items like cosmetics and lipsticks not allowed. Amazon even has policies on foods allowed; water is the only drink allowed while at work and employees are not allowed to chew gum. In addition to strict on-the-job policies, Amazon has little tolerance for sickness. Some employees have said they got fired for being sick, Amazon stated that they didn’t disclose prior illness before being hired which their decision of firing them legal and ethical (Yarow, 2011).

Amazon also had an incident where their warehouse in Breinigsville would have ambulances and medical personnel on standby because it was so hot in the warehouse during the summer. The ambulances would take workers suffering from heat related injuries to the hospital. Amazon opted to keep the warehouse open and keep the workers working rather than closing for the extremely hot days. OSHA had received numerous complaints against the facility from harsh and unbearable working conditions. One worker stated that at least 15 people collapsed in one day. After a federal investigation was done on the company, temporary air conditioners were installed and later permanent air conditioners added. Employees of the facility were very pleased when air conditioning was installed. This shouldn’t take away from the fact that Amazon only installed the air conditioners after being federally investigated and called out by the press (Soper, 2012). This only solidifies the view that Amazon has low concern for their workers. It is obvious they have high concern for the task, by forcing employees to continue working while others were collapsing from the heat.

When looking at all the variables on how Amazon treats their employees, such as: low concern for worker health and safety, no sympathy or time for employees to recover from personal tragedies, making employees work to exhaustion in the heat, no direct rewards used as motivation other than salary, fear used as main motivator, restrictive worker policies, making employees constantly competing for un-achievable goals, and very little upward communication; Amazon could be seen as following either the exploitative-authoritative or the benevolent-authoritative Likert System Approach. While many other similar companies do not use this same approach, it may work exclusively for Amazon. As shown earlier by Amazon’s mission statement, they are extremely focused on the customer. They want to get their quality products to their customers as fast as possible. Creating a constant sense of urgency, fear, and strict rules may help keep the sense of resolve that is needed to force innovation and fast delivery service.

In fact, while many employees had negative things to say about their experience with being Amazon employees, others said that the company’s goal to strive for innovation through competition and constant pressure helped them grow as individuals or grow their career. Employees claim that they believe they work with some of the smartest and committed colleagues they have met. They credit their success and determination to Amazon’s relentless pushing of them to do better. That doesn’t change the fact that a large portion of employees still feel mistreated. Several lawyers in the Seattle area stated that they got consistent calls from employees or past employees of mistreatment from Amazon- usually for being pushed out due to performance related issues. One lawyer stated that while it is unfair, that does not mean that it is illegal (Kantor, 2015).

Amazon seems content to bring in a large number of new employees and utilize them until majority of them are burnt out, while retaining the super stars. In this regard, the benevolent-authoritative model will work for Amazon. If their goal is to always focus on bringing the best they can to their customers, they may burn out many employees in the process. As long as Amazon feels ethically okay with constantly cutting employees due to them burning out from being over worked, then this model is a good fit for Amazon. It may not seem like a good public relations move, now that the public has wind of how the employees are being treated. But Amazon may feel that quality and innovation results in better views of the company than what it would cost to slow down with better treatment for their employees.

Amazon may be coming around to changing their current organization culture to move away from the benevolent-authoritative style it seems to currently employ. Around a year ago, Amazon announced that they were improving their parental leave policy. This was around a month after other companies, like Adobe, Microsoft, and Netflix, had announced similar plans.  Amazon is now offering new mothers 20 weeks of paid leave and new fathers up to 6 weeks of paid leave. This may be a response to attempt to improve public relations after the New York Times had criticized the organization’s treatment of employees. It also could be a sign that Amazon is realizing that better treatment of employees may result in better work from their workers. It cannot be said indefinitely whether the move is for public relations, or if this is a start of Amazon changing their whole organizational structure (Greenberg, 2015).

Other companies can learn a lot from Amazon’s current situation. Another organization may see that would to have a high turnover rate for employees like Amazon to keep the workers constantly fresh and not “burnt-out,” but they could also learn a lesson from the backlash the company has received from the public. An organization that would like to follow a similar model to Amazon’s would probably want to find a median of putting pressure on your employees but also rewarding and keeping a positive image of the company to its employees.

 

Works Cited

Avtgis, T. A., & Rancer, A. S. (2012). Organizational communication: Strategies for success.
Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Pub.
Dininni, J. (2011, May 20). Management Theory of Rensis Likert. Retrieved October 31,
2016.
Greenberg, J. (2015, November 2). Amazon’s New Parental Leave Policy Is Good-And Good
Kantor, J., & Streitfeld, D. (2015, August 15). Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a
N/A. (2016). Mission Statement Examples: Amazon & Starbucks. Retrieved October 31,
Rosin, T. (2015, August 17). 9 key issues with Amazon’s corporate culture. Retrieved
October 31, 2016.
Soper, S. (2012, June 03). Amazon working conditions improve with new air conditioning.
Retrieved October 31, 2016.
Yarow, J., & Kovach, S. (2011, September 20). 10 Crazy Rules That Could Get You Fired From
Amazon Warehouses. Retrieved October 31, 2016.

Domino’s Boogergate

By: Natalie M Antonio

 

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Domino’s Pizza is a pizza company that was founded in 1960, by brothers, Tom and Jim Monaghan. Back then it was not called “Domino’s” it was started under the name of DomiNick’s. With about in 8,000 stores in about 54 different countries. It wasn’t long after that Domino’s Pizza is the number two pizza chain restaurant in the North America. 1973, Monaghan guaranteed that the customers would receive their order 30 minutes after ordering, or they would receive their order for free. This was soon changed in the mid 1980s to the customers receiving three dollars off of their order. In 1992 Domino’s settled with a family from Illinois, because a woman was killed by a delivery driver. Domino’s settled with them for almost 2.8 million dollars. Again in 1993, a Domino’s delivery driver struck a woman in her van, after the driver ran a red light. Domino’s settled with the woman for almost 80 million dollars. This was also the year that Domino’s took away the “30 minutes or less” delivery guarantee because it gave the perception of reckless and and irresponsible driving. The “you got 30 minutes” campaign was brought back in 2007 (Ravi, 2015), which could imply reference to their earlier slogan, but not promising delivery in 30 minutes or less. One of the slogans from the Ann Arbor, Michigan based company got the best review of them all, “This slogan differs from all the others in a number of ways,” Huber said. “First, it is comprised of two syntactically complete sentences instead of phrases. Second, it includes an attention-getting command that speaks to the reader/listener directly. Third, this slogan uses the name of the brand, Domino’s. In that way, it stands out and is, perhaps, ‘stickier’ despite the extra words (‘the’ and ‘it’s’) and lack of syntactic or semantic or rhythmic balance.”

I am a person who enjoys a good prank every now and then, but there comes a time when those pranks turn dangerous and bad for that person’s personal brand. Some people can be pranksters but there is a fine line of when the pranking either becomes dangerous, stupid or discrediting to the person performing the prank. Especially when it comes to commercial food preparation. This is what happened to two Domino’s employees from North Carolina, Kristy Hammonds and Michael Setzer. At the time of the incident the two employees were in the kitchen, preparing orders for customers. In 2009 the pizza company faced a large PR and social media scandal. Hammonds can be quoted saying “ There’s Michael”, *achoo* “Making someone’s perfect cheese sticks with a big booger on it, then we’ll watch him box it and send it to the heat rack to be served to some unlucky customer, that is in need of some snot.” While Hammonds is saying this, we can see her filming Setzer sneezing on the cheesy bread then poking at the “booger” in the bread. Later in the same video, Setzer can be seen taking a sponge, that was used for washing dishes; wiping himself with the sponge, then using it to wash dishes. In the video Hammonds, makes a comment about how their boss is none the wiser because he is back in his office “reading the paper, like he always does.”

This scandal is obviously a consumer’s and a company’s worst nightmare. There is always a level of trust associated with the people who work in the food industry. As a company Domino’s saw that they had a very large crisis brewing for their personal brand. Tim McIntyre, Domino’s  corporate vice president, who is also a member of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). McIntyre tells us about how Dominos reacted to the video going viral after the first 24 hours it had been posted. One of the first emotions that he felt was anger, because he like many others loved this brand, trusted this brand and loved the franchises that they worked with. At first McIntyre thought that this video was a hoax because he could not believe that his employees could film something so real, so reckless, and put it on the internet. Without knowing what the repercussions would be. McIntyre had said almost immediately “You know what, this is a bad one — they’re in uniform, they’re in the store. We need to do something about it.(PRSA 2009)” The next step that the corporate team made was to make still images of the two employees in the video to distribute them to their franchises across the country. This lead to the identification of the two employees. All of that happened within two hours of the video being posted. Some readers of The Consumerist helped narrow down which store that this video was filmed at This video was filmed on Easter Sunday, because the employees were bored and there were very few orders coming into the store at that time. The Tuesday morning after this had happened the corporate team had identified the employees, contacted the local health department, the store owner and the police department. At the end of this day the video had more than 250,000 hits on YouTube. Along with YouTube, this crisis also hit it big on the Twitter front. That same evening at about 7:30 pm, Domino’s social media team looked into what people were saying on Twitter. The initial conversation that was happening involved people saying how horrible the video was, but more about what Domino’s was going to do about this scenario, or if Domino’s knew what had happened. What is even more interesting to me is that Domino’s social media committee had met almost a month prior to this incident, the committee was working on strategies to move Domino’s to the next level, the social media level. the committee was working on moving Domino’s onto Facebook, Twitter and more relevant social media sites. According to McIntyre, the team had a plan in place, they did not want to go into the situation blindly, they wanted to implement the solution correctly, and were going to implement the new social media program only a week after the crisis happened. The social media platform was released in the middle of the “boogergate”.

Because this video was released on a Sunday, especially Easter Sunday, most of the corporate leadership was away on vacation with their families. By Wednesday the president, Patrick Doyle, had come back from Florida to be briefed, because the whole leadership team, was aware of the situation, because of text messages, and E-mail. By the middle of the day on Wednesday, the video had reached almost one million views on Youtube. For the first time ever, in 2009 terms, Domino’s had passed “Paris Hilton” in a word search on Google. This is what ultimately brought this video to the media’s attention. Even though this news broke fast, McIntyre said, “This is fast, but there are 307 million people in America. There are a lot of people who don’t know about it; let’s focus on talking to the audience that’s talking to us. (PRSA, 2009)” In response to this they put a statement up on Domino’s website. It is known that the first 24 hours after a crisis are the most critical ones. McIntyre and the rest of the social media team had to perform a lot of damage control to accomplish. The target audience for this was YouTube, since this is where the crisis first started at. The main problem for the company was to identify the individuals, contacting the customers, ensuring that no one received contaminated food, as well as making sure that no crime had been committed. This was working in conjunction with the police, because the corporate team wanted the employees charged with a crime, because of the visual evidence and the claim that they were going to feed this contaminated food to consumers.

Domino’s wanted to make sure that their point was driven home, in a strong manner, that they do not tolerate this type of behavior. McIntyre had said that it would be different if the employees were teenagers, but the employees were two people in their mid 30s. This is why Domino’s got some flack for initially not responding very quickly. McIntyre also said that they needed to learn perspective on things, by using the analogy of not needing a fire hose to put out a candle. Someone else related the way Domino’s responded in the first 24 hours to a “grocery store with 30 isles but there was only a spill in isle five, and that they didn’t need to mop the whole store because there was a little spill in isle five. But while the spill was happening it was leaking to isle six, seven, four and three. if the same spill were to happen again, we would rope off the surrounding isles.” This was a great analogy of what happened with this crisis. McIntyre also said that this would include posting on the website a little sooner, as well as posting on Twitter a little sooner as well, and communicating to the senior leadership team quicker.

This crisis with Domino’s can be related mostly to the Communication Accommodation Theory. The Communication Accommodation Theory was first initiated in 1971, by Howard Giles, a professor at the University or California, Santa Barbra. This theory was first known as the Speech Accommodation Theory. Giles wanted to find the reason for the shifts in people’s speech patterns, as well as find the consequences of their behavior. Giles was mostly interested in finding they underlying thought process and emotions that can be involved with convergence and divergence during conversations. This theory explains that when people talk to each other, those people can change the way he or she talks to match the way the listener talk. This change can be conscious or unconscious, the person matches their accent, the speed, the rhythm, the vocabulary, as well as the stance and gestures that the person makes.

The reason that the person performs this theory is because he or she wants to agree or want the other person to like him or her. This theory can also come across as the person being fake, or too familiar with the topic being talked about. Sometimes the speaker can use convergence to show that he or she has more power than the listener, the speaker comes across as too patronizing. This the theory is considered sound, because researchers have been able to challenge the different scenarios. Sometimes the conversations can be too complex to break down into the different convergence and divergence scenarios (Communication Accommodation Theory)

This theory can be related to the Domino’s pizza crisis because the leadership team with the corporate team used accommodation to change the way that they responded to the crisis at hand. The team turned to the YouTube platform to record and broadcast their response to the crisis. They figured out that because this crisis first broke on the YouTube front, that the team needed to resolve the problem with the same form of media. With this situation at hand the senior leadership team could have chose to move quickly and deliver false information. They chose to take the time to gather information before confirming the accusations against these two employees, and ensuring the public safety.

As a consumer and someone who has worked in the food industry before, when I found the idea for this case study, I was appalled at the level of carelessness of these two employees. A few years ago Domino’s changed up their formula for their pizza and my family stopped ordering it because their pizza makes me sick. After watching this video I find it hard to order any type of food. As someone who has worked in the food industry at Panera Bread,  I know what goes into keeping a restaurant up to the health codes, and how employees are supposed to treat procedures with food preparation. At Panera Bread we had specific quality assurance protocols that had to be performed a few times a day, for example, we had a special cutting board and knives that had to be used when we made anything with peanut butter, or anything with the tuna salad. We also had protocol for when a food item or utensil hit the floor, as well as protocols for washing the dishes, there was a separate sink for anything that could be considered an allergen. Social media has always been a touchy subject because the older population usually does not want anything do to with social media, where the younger generations are usually glued to what ever forms of social media is on their given mobile device. Especially with my generation, older adults are always telling you “be careful about what you post on social media, it never goes away!” This was true of the video as well, I was able to find the video that was initially posted in 2009 all the way in 2016, with only a few keystrokes. I think that Domino’s did a decent job at maintaining the safety of the public while managing this crisis. They waited until they had the proper amount of knowledge before they implemented their plan to fix the current crisis. This was how I related this case study back to the Communication Accommodation Theory. Other companies can take point from Domino’s leadership team, by keeping cool in the face of crisis, and using social media to apologize and explain themselves to the general public. 

References:

Agnes, M. (2012, March 22). Domino’s Pizza: A Look At the Timelessness of A Social Media Crisis Plan. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from Melissa Agnes website: http://melissaagnes.com/dominos-pizza-a-look-at-the-timelessness-of-a-social-media-crisis-plan/

Communication Accommodation Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2016, from COMMUNICATION STUDIES website: http://www.communicationstudies.com/communication-theories/communication-accommodation-theory

Clifford, S. (2009, April 15). Video Prank at Domino’s Taints Brand. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from The New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/business/media16dominos.html

Dominos Pizza on the Today Show – Workers fired for Dominos prank video. [Video file]. (2009, April 17). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaNuE3DsJHM

Higgins, C. (2015, June 27). 11 Facts About Domino’s Pizza Founder Tom Monaghan (in 30 Minutes or Less). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from Mental Floss website: http://mentalfloss.com/article/65604/11-facts-about-dominos-pizza-founder-tom-monaghan-30-minutes-or-less

Jacques, A. (2009, August 17). Domino’s Delivers During Crisis: The Company’s Step-by-Step Response After a Vulgar Video Goes Viral. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from Public Relations Society of America website: http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/TheStrategist/Articles/view/8226/102/Domino_s_Delivers_During_Crisis_The_Company_s_Step#.WBc9kOErL-Z

Ravi, S. (2013, January 5). Domino’s Pizza. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from Slogan Smith website: http://slogansmith.blogspot.com/2013/01/dominos-pizza.html

SOS Marketing. (2015, May 8). Handling a Social Media Crisis: Domino’s [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llnZn7vLV20

York, E. B. (2009, April 20). What Domino’s Did Right — and Wrong — in Squelching Hubbub over YouTube Video. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from AdvertizingAge website: http://adage.com/article/news/crisis-pr-assessing-domino-s-reaction-youtube-hubub/136086/

   

USAA : Redefining Customer Service

By : Tony Snider

INTRODUCTION

No matter the type of business, understanding the needs unique to its customers is crucial.  USAA is an insurance and financial company that serves members of the United States Military and families.  USAA is unique because of how highly they value their customer’s opinions.  This case study will deal with how USAA as a company trains its employees to be able to deal with certain situations and to be able to make their customers the happiest.  Not only does USAA emphasize to its employees the importance of a happy customer, their customer service representatives also make up over 60% of the company’s employees (McGregor, 2005).

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

At USAA they hold themselves to highest of standards when it comes to customer care.  At the company they have what is called the “USAA Standard”.  This standard is used to make sure that all employees are aligned similarly and are working toward the same goals when it comes to customer satisfaction.  At USAA the standard is comprised of keeping their membership and mission first, living through their core values, being authentic and building trust, creating condition for people to succeed, purposefully including diverse perspectives for the best results, and being innovative in building toward the future (USAA, 2015).  All USAA employees, most of whom are former military personnel, undergo much training designed to help them understand the perspective of customer care (Fleurke, 2009).  This training  also integrates their “USAA Standard”, making sure each and every employee is able to give the most productive care to their customers while still following the Standard itself.

usaa_customerservice2

Photo Credit : bizjournals.com

The USAA Standard closely aligns with two of the Perspectives of Ethical Decision Making.  The foundational perspective, which states that the organization has an explicit code of ethics, is the first to come to mind.  The Standard is exactly that, an explicit code of ethics that needs to be followed by all.  Also, the relationship-based perspective seems to fit as well.  This perspective states that ethical behavior is achieved through open and honest communication with the public.  I feel that the relationship-based perspective is present much in part after learning that around 300 USAA employees had been doing push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and much more, after signing up for a taste of military basic training.  This was done because at USAA they stated how “you serve the military best when you understand the military” (Shevory, 2014).  This shows to me how USAA is going public with its relations and with how willing they are to do anything to give the best customer service to its clients, in a part of business that typically gets bashed for its poor customer service.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Although I have never specifically worked for a company ran much like an insurance company such as USAA, I have been a part of teams that have held similar standards and ethics.  In high school, our football team needed to conduct ourselves in an honorable manner, as we were constantly in the spotlight, both on the field and in the community.  We also had a specific person to run our social media pages and ran fundraisers.  This taught me a lot about what standards are important for a team, or even business to be successful and respected.  If I were to design a code of ethics for a business, I would use much of what I learned from my time in high school football.  But, with all of this, our high school football team did not incorporate a structured code of ethics.  If I were to create four ethical standards they would be :

  • Conduct yourself with class and respect, both on and off the field
  • Be selfless in helping around the school and community
  • Support Riverdale in every way possible
  • Build lasting friendships and brotherhoods with those teammates around you

These would be my four ethical standards because of how well they sum up the importance of playing football at Riverdale.   First off, with conducting yourself with class and respect, it is as simple as that.  As an athlete, especially a football player, the spotlight is on your at all times, not just on the field.  This would help players to be more respectful in all aspects of life.  Next, being selfless in helping around the school and community may be the most important in my eyes.  As an athlete in high school I was constantly signing up to volunteer my time to help for events, a trait that I have carried with myself to this day.  Then, supporting the school itself in every way possible is important because of the amount of support that football gets.  Yes, football is the big money-maker at every high school, but supporting other sports teams and clubs and returning the favor is imperative.  Lastly, building lasting friendships and brotherhoods will always stick with me.  To this day most of my closest friends have come from playing football alongside them.  Working out every day for football is not necessarily easy, so having friends, that are more like brothers, around you makes it that much more enjoyable and unforgettable.  These ethical standards typically do not need to necessarily be taught to new members, but they would need to be reminded of them from time to time.  Having these standards posted and displayed would drill them into the players’ minds.  In my experience, playing the game of football indirectly taught me these ethical standards, of being respectful, selfless, supportive of those around me, and creating lifelong brotherhoods.

 

References

The USAA Standard. (2015). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf

Fleurke, B. X. (n.d.). Menu. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

Shevory, K. (2014). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/?_r=0

McGregor, J. (2012). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

Accepting Only the Best – Netflix

By : Tony Snider

Nowadays everybody has seen the trend of going to rent movies from the local video store has essentially died out. This trend has taken place because of the addition of Netflix, a video streaming company that allows you to watch thousands of movies and television shows instantly on your device.  Netflix’s genius idea has seen the company take off in recent years, but the way Netflix as a company recruits workers and runs their organization has been just as big in its success. By taking a very specific strategy toward what workers they hire, Netflix has been able to grow steadily into a respected and revered company worldwide.

netflix

Photo Credit – Huffingtonpost.com

Netflix has seen incredible growth and success since it began because of its “seven aspects of our culture”.  These seven aspects of Netflix’s culture are the company’s priorities and standards that the company is based on.  The first aspect is “values are what we value”.  This describes how Netflix differs from many companies, as they do not post generic statements about their “integrity” or “respect”.  Netflix shows its values by who gets rewarded, promoted, or even let go (Hastings, 2016).  The next aspect of their culture is “high performance”, meaning that the company itself aims to employ only those that everybody can learn something from and that can respect and learn from others as well.  Coupled along with their “high performance” aspect is “freedom and responsibility”. At Netflix only those applicants that are deemed “fully formed adults” are chosen to join the company, being that they need to be self-motivating, self-aware, self-disciplined, self-improving, and act like a leader.  Another of the seven aspects is “context, not control”.  This means that the best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people.  Another aspect dealing with their management style is “highly aligned, loosely coupled”.  This describes how at Netflix their strategy and goals are clear, specific, and broadly understood, yet there are minimal cross-functional meetings except to get aligned on goals and strategy.  Next is that they “pay top of market”, meaning that they feel that one outstanding employee gets more done and costs less than two adequate employees.  The last of the seven aspects of Netflix’s culture is “promotions and development”.  This is easily understood by looking at baseball and the minor leagues.  Those that are talented enough get to move up in the world, but you have to continually perform at your highest level to stay in your highest position without getting demoted.

Going along with Netflix’s seven aspects of culture is the way in which they select their employees; “The Netflix Approach”, or only accepting “fully formed adults” (How Netflix Reinvented HR, 2016).  This groundbreaking human resource policy was derived under direction of Reed Hastings and Patty McCord.  The point of adding the notion of only hiring fully formed adults was implemented for multiple reasons.  First off Netflix did not want to hire those workers that cause you the most typical problems.  Although some firms offer services to help these workers mesh better, Netflix does not deal with that unneeded work and shies away from these workers altogether.  The Netflix Approach has also been very beneficial financially.  Since implementing the idea the company has been 22% more profitable, seen 30% lower turnover, and 37% less absenteeism (Zeldin, 2016).

As being part of a professional organization working for my father over the last five years, I have seen many similarities between the way Netflix is ran compared to Miami Industrial Trucks.  At Miami Industrial Trucks I work directly underneath my father who is also the hiring manager for the parts division of the company.  That being said, my father and I have been involved in every hire for the company over the last few years in that part of the company.  Of Netflix’s seven aspects of culture, I feel my father and Miami Industrial Trucks are closely related in three of the seven areas.  First off Miami Industrial Trucks is also run with the thought process of “values are what we value”.  With this they do not necessarily always take the most qualified applicant, but take the one that is qualified, yet shows true passion and integrity in their character.  Miami Industrial Trucks also runs along with the aspect of “high performance”, meaning that managers want every new hire to be able to teach current employees something new, and vice versa.  Lastly I feel Miami Industrial Trucks is also ran along the premise of “promotion and development”, meaning that there are many opportunities for growth within the company, but even if you are able to earn those positions you must perform at your very best to be able to hold that spot or you will be demoted for the good of the company.

I feel that I would excel at Netflix, working in accordance with their seven aspects of culture.  I feel that I am the type of person that thrives under pressure and am able to rise to the occasion in certain situations. Working for Netflix would push me to be the most productive and honest employee I could be, understanding the consequences that would result otherwise.  I love the way Netflix operates, only accepting the best and not hesitating to drop an employee immediately if need be.

References

(2016). How Netflix Reinvented HR. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from    https://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr

Reed Hastings, Working   Keynote Author Follow. (2009). We Seek Excellence Our culture.   Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture- 1798664/2-We_Seek_ExcellenceOur_culture_focuses

Zeldin, I. (n.d.). Hire only fully formed adults: How soft skills improve your bottom line. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ilya-zeldin/hire-only-    fully-formed-ad_b_10361688.html