Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS) -
October 19th, 2010
Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS):
Smith & Kendall developed the original behaviorally anchored rating scales. These scales are a combination critical incidents & rating scales. BARS are also known as behavioral expectation scales.
The development of BARS involves the following steps:
(a) Step 1: The supervisors prepare a list of critical incidents.
(b) Step 2: The supervisors then group critical incidents in to small clusters of performance dimensions such as job knowledge, leadership etc. thus there are number of performance dimensions (usually 5 to 10), each having a number of critical incidents.
(c) Step 3: In this step a group of experts are called. The experts are presented with the critical incidents prepared in step one. Their task is to reassign or classify the critical incidents in to the same performance dimensions.
The critical incidents that are reassigned by the majority of experts in the same dimensions as that by the supervisors (in step 2) are retained. While those critical incidents about which there is confusion about the dimension to which they belong is discarded.
The objective of this task is to be certain that the critical incidents truly represent performance dimensions under considerations.
(d) Step 4: The experts then rate of the “surviving” critical incidents on a scale (of 7 to 9 points) as to how well they represent performance on the given dimension. Those critical incidents for which there is high rater agreement are retained. Those incidents for which there is a low rater agreement are discarded.
(e) Step 5: the final form of BARS consists of critical incidents that are survived step 3 & 4. These incidents serve as behavioral anchors for the performance dimension scales. Thus the BARS instrument consists of a series of scales (one for each dimension) anchored by the critical incidents.
The advantages of BARS are:
(a) The ratings are likely to be accurate as it is done by experts.
(b) BARS are more reliable & valid as it is job specific & identifies observable & measurable behavior.
(c) The use of critical incidents is useful in providing feedback to the employee being rated.
The disadvantages of BARS are:
(a) The development of BARS is time-consuming.
(b) BARS are job specific. A different behaviorally anchored rating scale has to be developed for every job.
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