BEHAVIOURALLY ANCHORED RATING SCALES (BARS )
The behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS) method combines elements of the traditional rating scales and critical incidents methods .Using BARS, job behaviors from critical incidentsâ€”effective and ineffective behaviors are described more objectively .The method employs individual who are familiar with a particular job to identify its major components .They then rank and validate specific behaviors for each of the components.
How to Construct BARS?
Developing a BARS follows a general format which combines techniques employed in the critical incident method and weighted checklist ratings scales. Emphasis is pinpointed on pooling the thinking of people who will use the scales as both evaluators.
Step I : Collect Critical Incidents :People with knowledge of the job to be probed, such as job holders and supervisors , describe specific examples of effective and ineffective behavior related to job performance.
Step II : Identify Performance Dimensions: The people assigned the task of developing the instrument cluster the incidents into a small set of key performance dimensions .Generally, between five and ten dimensions account for most of the performance .Examples of performance dimensions include technical competence , relationships with customer handling or paperwork, and meeting day-to-day deadlines, .While developing varying levels of performance for each dimension (anchors) , specific examples of behavior should be used, which could later be scaled in terms of good, average or below average performance.
Step III: Reclassification of Incidents: Another group of participations who are knowledgeable about the job is instructed to retranslate or reclassify the critical incidents generated (in step II) previously. They are given the definition of job dimension and told to assign each critical incident to the dimension that it best describes .At this stage incidents for which there is not 75 percent agreement are discarded as being too subjectives.
Step IV : Assigning Scale Values to the Incidents: Each incident is then rated on a one-to-nine scale with respect to how well it represents performance on the appropriate dimension .A rating of one represents ineffective performance; the top scale value indicates very effective performance .The second group of participants usually assigns the scale values. Means and standard deviations are then calculated for the scale values assigned to each incident. Typically incidents that have standard deviations of 1.50 or less (on a 7-point scale) are retained.
Step V : Producing the Final Instrument: About six to seven incidents for each performance dimensionâ€”all having met both the retranslation and standard deviation criteriaâ€”will be used as behavioral anchors .The final BARS instruments consists of a series of vertical scales (one for each dimension) anchored (or measured) by the final incidents. Each incident is positioned on the scale according to its mean value.
The above process typically requires considerable employee participation, its acceptance by both supervisors and their subordinates may be greater .Proponents of BARS also claim that such a system differentiates among behavior , performance and results, and consequently is able to provide a basis for setting developmental goals for the employee .Because it is job-specific and identifies observable and measurable behavior , it is more reliable and valid method for performance appraisal.