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Change Management Assignment: Impact of COVID-19 on Bank of America


Task: Prepare a well-researched and well-structured report on change management assignment on the topic “Impact of the pandemic on organisations and Organizational responses (Bank of America)”.


1.0 Introduction to the context of change management assignment
Within the business environment, change management (CM) refers to the tools, techniques, and processes, which help in managing the change, from the perspective of the employees as well as the organization, for achieving the needed business outcomes. The change management mainly focuses upon the individual who is affected by the change as every changes procedure, systems, the structure of the organization and the roles of the job have a people side as well as a technical side. As opined by Al-Aliet al.,(2017), the changes within the organization refer to the movement taken up by the company from one state of affairs to the other, which involves the changes within the structure, policies, strategies, technology, procedure, and the culture of a company. Hence, the changes that occur within the organizations are planned or it might have been forced upon the organization due to the shift or transformation within the environment. Moreover, changes are necessary within an organization since, without transformation, the company would not be able to achieve the competitive edge and can fail to meet the ever-changing requirements of the customer and the environment within which the company is working and thus, some of the organizational changes need the major restructuring of its management and laws (Ali & Lai, 2016). The present study focuses on the organizational changes and responses, which have occurred in the operations and management of the “Bank of America” after the outspread of the pandemic situation all over the world.

The study mainly aims upon finding the issues faced by the Bank of America after the outspread of the pandemic situation and the way the organization has changed its operation and management strategies as well as policies for coping up with the worst consequences prevailing in the society. The study will help the audiences to know about the consequences faced by the banking sector of America and the way they have been changing their organizational structure by adopting technologies and innovation to mitigate these problems.

The present essay begins with the organizational background of the company stating its size, main products, location, and the issues faced by the company after the pandemic situation. Gradually, theoretical perspectives are determined regarding the change management, its models and theories, effects of globalization, and the changes that occurred in the economic situation after the coronavirus outbreak. Furthermore, the study mentions the case examples determining the main changes resulting in the coronavirus outbreak within Bank of America, the way the things were before and after the change, along with the outcomes of the change management within the company.

2.0 Organizational Background
The name of the organization mentioned within the present study is the Bank of America, which is an international financial service and investment bank of America with its company headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA (Altamonyet al., 2016). The bank has its central hub in London, New York, Dallas, Toronto, and Hong Kong. The bank was formed by the Nation’s Bank’s Acquisition of the Bank of America in the year 1998, is considered as the second-largest institution of banking and finance within the USA, and is referred to as the ninth-largest banking and financial service organization in the entire world. The organization has 4,600 centres for retail financial and nearly 16,200 automated teller machines. The company incurs revenue of $91.24 billion, a net income of $28.14 billion, an operating income of $34.60 billion along with the overall asset of $2.325 trillion. Hence, the company has the employee strength of 204,489 individuals along with the capital ratio of 11.8% as evaluated in the year 2017. The main products of the company are corporate and consumer banking, investment and private banking, mortgage loans, wealth management, private equity, and credit cards (Butt et al., 2016).

The key issues, which the Bank of America is facing, can be attributed to the outbreak of the pandemic situation are multifarious and are impacting the operations of the organization adversely. Branch operations are being adversely affected as the branch cannot support the guidelines of social distancing and may have the excess capacity of real estate after temporarily reducing the branch footprints (, 2020). ATM operations lack the advanced kiosk, which is creating the work issues that are presently performed by the tellers and it becomes harder to service the ATM as per the disruption of spread. The contact operations of the company got contaminated and the contact centre is not prepared to handle the surge in volumes (, 2020). The loss of employees and clients became usual to the bank in between this situation, as the people were concerned about their safety and health and were not visiting the bank premises as they were not able to trust upon the cleanliness and precaution taken up by the bank to fight against the situation (Cummings et al. 2016).

3.0 Theoretical perspective
3.1 Significance of change management within an organizations

CM within organizations allows room for flexibility and facilitates the process of adaptation to changes in the working systems, by the employees. The process has ample significance in aiding organizations encountering barriers in operations and undergoing changes, to keep up with their productivity.CM helps in easing the tension as well as creating a smooth process within the company with the implementation of the innovation and technology within the operation and structure of the company. Moreover, making the employees understand the necessity for the change made will help in creating an open-minded workplace that is open to changes. It also helps in saving the resources and time of the organization by keeping the employees informed about the changes and making them open to the changes which might help them to get engaged with the transitions and make it happen much more quickly. CM aids in the creation of more innovative as well as adaptable workplace through opening the communication lines within the company that set the standards and increases the trust of the employees within the form upon the decision taken by the management and thus, it helps in maintaining the consistency (Day et al., 2017).

3.2 Models to the change management
One of the most famous and effective models of change management is Kurt Lewin’s Change management model which is widely accepted in all of the companies within the world. This model helps the business companies to better understand the structural and organizational change. The three stages within this model allow the employees to understand the reasons for change, orient them as per the changed working systems through training them, evaluating the improvements in the performance of the organization after the change and then implementing any corrective measures, to make the changes flawless and a part of the operations within the organization. Unfreeze is the initial and preparation stage of the model where the employees get prepared regarding the change that is going to occur. The most crucial thing in this stage is the open employee communication that explains why the changes are necessary. The main goal of this stage is to overcome the employee’s resistance to the transition as much as it is possible.

Moving/ change is the middle stage of the model where the changes and transitions within the company are implemented (Gerbec, 2017). As continuing with the first stage, both the effective communication among the employees along with the good leadership capabilities are important in this stage. Refreeze is the last stage of the model within which the employees adopt the changes; they go back as per their routines. This stage is considered to be almost ever going. Thus, the leaders make sure that the changes are adopted by the staff even after the objective of the change management model has been achieved. This model of change management is very simple and can easily be implemented within the operations and management of any business company that considers the pre-change, during the change, and the post-change.

3.3 Effects of globalization
The globalization of an organization brings about its own sets of costs and benefits and often these costs include the consequences of the unmanaged international expansion that are considered without the concerns and stakes of the infrastructure and workforce which is already there, which enables the organizations for thinking global in the first instance. As expressed by Hussain et al., (2018), the basic reality for the effects of change management is that there is an ease for changing the processes and system but it is extremely hard to pose these changes on people and their mindset. For the leaders who are accepting globalization, there are several issues to be considered that include the training and accommodation of the contemporary global personnel along with the retention as well as retraining of the existing components, which form the base of the organization. Moreover, globalization also includes the exchange of cross-border culture due to which the conflicts are common and it also gives rise to the retraining, job cuts, employee translocation that asks for efficient change management implementation so that the organization and its reputation is not harmed. Thus, globalization and change management goes hand in hand as it helps in nullifying the negative reactions, maintaining employee morale, increasing the customer relationship and confidence, helps in defining the expectation of the stakeholders within the company and helps in realizing the organizational objectives (Ik&Azeez, 2020).

3.4 Expansion of the COVID outbreak and the changes it has brought to the economic system.
The expansion of the COVID outbreak since almost the start of 2020, is disrupting the international supply chain as well as the global trade throughout the world organizations. With more than 100 nations are closing their international borders including the movement of people and the business flows which have come down to the screeching halt. Millions of workers within these countries are confronting the bleak prospects for losing jobs and the governments are considering as well as rolling out the large stimulus packages for advertising the sharp downturn of the economy that could potentially plunge out the international economy towards the deep recession. Within the worst-case situations, the economy of the world organizations can contract by 0.9 percent in the year 2020, and presently, it has contracted to 1.7% that has caused the global crisis of finance (, 2020). This severity regarding the economic impact will be largely depending upon the two factors such as duration of the restriction upon the movement of the people as well as the economic activities within the major economies as well as the efficacy of the fiscal responses to the crisis. Moreover, the declines within the commodity-related revenues along with the rehearsal of the capital flow are very much increasing the likelihood of the debt distress for many of the world organizations and is affecting the economic system adversely (, 2020).

4.0 Case example
4.1 Main changes occurred after the Coronavirus Outbreak

The Bank of America has reported the lower gains of profit than Wall Street was looking for because of the increase within the credit expenses that resulted due to the COVID 19 Pandemic situation (Root, 2020). Continuing in the same vein, the author also stated that Coronavirus-induced losses of the loan were not of any surprise, but the shares of the company still fell for 2.7% within the pre-market trading. Moreover, the consensus view among the analysts has declined from the profit of about 72 cents share over the past weeks; the forecasting of the precise impact of the COVID 19 proves to be difficult for the organization (Gelzinis 2020).Thus, the Bank of America’s stock was down by 33% and the closing prices were worse than that of 12% and 16% respectively (Stevenset al.,2020).

Furthermore, the bank was lacking the Branch operation, ATM services and Contact operations as they were not accustomed by the guidelines of the social distancing, the ATM operation was performed by the Automated teller machines, and the contact centre was not at all well equipped to handle the surge in volumes (Gelzinis 2020). Moreover, the contact centres got contaminated, it got harder for servicing the ATM such as reloading of cash as the disruption was spreadingandthere was the temporary reduction of the footprints in the branches of the bank. The bank is also facing challenges and issues within the business continuity plan and on its balance sheet for the management of loans as well as consumer sensitivity. Hence, the bank was trying to trim the cost quickly along with resetting the revenue outlook and replotting the strategy for post-COVID 19 to mitigate the challenges.

4.2 Things before the change
Before the outbreak of the COVID 19 situation, the global operations of the Bank of America developed the innovation strategies as well as solutions that were designed for enhancing the clients’ performance and also to support the clients for reaching their particular business goals. The operations team of the bank used to perform the vital functions that included settlements, reconciliation and clearing procedures, trade validations, lost and profit control along with risk, along with general oversights of the key processes. The operation workings aligned the bank with the global market, international commercial banking, consumer banking, global investment and wealth management along with international wholesale banking that used to provide the operational support across the suites of the each products of the business.

4.3 Changes that are being managed and their impact on the organization
As observed by Matthews et al.,(2018), the Bank of America is an agile organization, which has a record of aligning its services according to the changes in the business environment, to deliver best-suited service to the customers. Currently, the organization is adopting certain changes within its operations and management process for managing the challenges that occurred owing to the pandemic, COVID 19. In the face of the pandemic, during the Lockdown, many staffs were required to work from home, in order to maintain continuity in bank functions. Since the employees are accustomed to workingon computers in their office, this change did not impact their productivity by any means. In order to deal with the customers effectively, the employees were trained in maintaining social distance as well asresorting to safe and sterile habits, to minimize chances of transmission of infection. Though new, these practices are so minimalistic in nature that they hardly impacted the functionality of the staffs by any means and thus, this change required minimal management efforts.

Assistance and protection to the clients
The head of the consumer, Wealth management, and Small business client Care, Holly O’Neill has reported that the additional assistance is being provided to the clients of Bank of America and to the small businesses that are experiencing hardships (, 2020). Furthermore, the organization has changed the way of operations and has made arrangements for mobile and 'from-home' banking, wherein the customers, especially the elderly ones, on request, will be assisted with the banking functions from the comfort of their own home, by visiting bank professionals, who would adopt all safety measures, to ensure no transmission of infection.

Staying connected
To keep the information of the client's accounts safe and secured during this pandemic situation, the Bank of America is continuously alerting its client to update their contact information along with setting up the account alerts and security so that the bank could stay connected with them (, 2020). The Bank is also making changes in their operations such that the customers would be able to carry out all the functions related to the bank accounts fromwithin their homes, without having them to visit the outlets, for which few technologicaladvancements and changed software have been introduced within the organization’s operational systems. According to Morin et al., (2016), changes in technologies and working systems within organizations mandates that the employees are adequately trained in the processes and are convinced regarding the necessity of change, which could otherwise lead to dissatisfaction among employees and loss of productivity. To overcome this challenge, the organization has hired temporary personnel, an expert in handling the changed software and operations, to ease the process. Arrangements have been made for on-job training for the existent employees so that they can learn to efficiently handle the changed systems.

Secure and convenient banking
The Bank of America is emphasizing their Mobile apps for banking and their Online Banking, which they have made available to the customers as the most convenient ways for checking the account status, paying off bills, and depositing the cheques from anywhere and at any time. As opined by Rosenbaum et al., (2018), the Bank is also requesting its customers to use the digital wallet for paying at the stores where they can see the contactless symbols. There no need for touching the cash or the terminals with the usage of this wallet that will also help in purchasing online and pay for in-app at the participating merchants. For ensuring the security of the digital transactions, the organization has installed new and improved software as well as Artificial Intelligence systems, to protect against thefts of any kind, while allowing the customers to continue with seamless transactions.

The Bank of America is continuing to devote all the necessary resources, which ensure their customer's safety along with maintaining all of the services, which they count upon. Thus, with the emergence of new development, the company is also sharing its information with their customer or clients regarding the ways they are operating effectively and safely to assist their clients (Schuhet al., 2017).

4.4 The outcome of the change management procedure
The changes that are managed by the Bank of America within its operations and the management structure, as well as policies, has helped the organization to gain benefits in many ways. For example, it has helped in assessing and understanding the needs, as well as the impact of the changes, occurred due to the worst scenario, while aiding in aligning the resources in the banking and finance for supporting the changes. The CM procedure has helped in managing the diverse cost and expense of the changes and has benefitted in reducing the time that is needed for the implementation of the changes.It has helped in supporting the employees within the bank and has assisted them in understanding the changes that occurred within the operations and management (Stouten Rousseau & De Cremer, 2018). The CM procedure has also played a role in planning and execution of effective strategies for ensuring seamless communication among the employees and the management, while improving collaboration and cooperation within the banking business, and minimizing the resistance to change. It has increased the banking and finance capacity of the organization even during this COVID situation, which has helped in improving the organizational efficacy as well as has reduced the disruptive aspects as well as the risks that are associated with the change and have also minimized the possibilities of the failure in CM (Van der Voet & Vermeeren, 2017).

The changes that occurred within the Bank was successful as the customers were satisfied regarding the precaution and safety measure taken up by the organization, and it helped the bank to gain its revised operation procedure which use to happen before the outbreak of the pandemic. The customers were again coming to the bank for the banking and finance service and were also using the online banking services provided by the organization, through the operation and functioning of the bank were becoming normalized as earlier. The process of CM was successful because the organization paid attention to the changes,which were required by their stakeholders and had focused on the each and every individual processes of change with effectively handling the resistance and the risk which had came in the way. Plans and processes were efficiently conducted by the organization to provide the safety and precautionary measure after the COVID 19 outbreak for the customers and clients.

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
The present study mainly focuses on the managing of social and organizational change with mainly highlighting the concept of Change Management within an organization. The study shed light upon the topic that is the impact of the pandemic situation on the organization and the organizational response based upon the banking organizations like the Bank of America. The study mentions the organizational background of the company such as the size, location, and its main products as well as the issues experienced by the company after the Coronavirus outbreak. Gradually, it determines the theoretical perspective such as the significance of change management, models related to change management, the impact of globalization along with the changes brought by the Coronavirus outbreak, on the finance and revenue ofthe organization. Furthermore, the study mentions the case examples such as the changes that happened after the COVID outbreak within Bank of America, the changes that the organization managed to do and its impact on the company, and the outcomes of the change management process and the way it became successful.

In order to make the process of change management smoother, the organization can take up certain steps. For helping the customers gain proficiency in handling online operations related to banking activities during the pandemic, the Bank of America can open customer-friendly portals, for guiding the customers. They can also offer 24*7 guidance to the employees as well as customers over handling the technologically advanced systems that have been implemented for improving the services offered to the customers, during the pandemic. The pandemichas caused changesin the working systems of employees as well sincemost of the employeeswere required to function from home, during the lockdown phases.Since there has been no changes in the platform over which the employees work as well as the software,so this change of lication of work,did not impact the operational ability of the employees.The employees can be rendered online courses regarding better and efficient ways of handling the customers during the pandemic, while ensuring their safety and preventing data breach or glitch of any kind.

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