Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales

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What are Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales?

Behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) are a type of performance evaluation tool that combines the benefits of qualitative and quantitative approaches to performance assessment. BARS are designed to measure specific behaviors or skills, rather than more general traits or characteristics.

BARS consists of a set of criteria or dimensions that are relevant to the job or task being evaluated, along with a series of behavioral examples or anchors that illustrate different levels of performance for each dimension. For example, a BARS used to evaluate customer service skills might include dimensions such as "communication" and "problem-solving," along with a series of behavioral anchors that illustrate increasing levels of proficiency in each dimension.

To use a BARS, an evaluator observes an individual's performance and rates the individual's behavior on each dimension using the provided anchors as a guide. This allows the evaluator to provide a more detailed and accurate assessment of the individual's performance, as the specific behaviors being evaluated are clearly defined.

BARS are often used in performance appraisal systems, as they can provide more objective and accurate feedback to employees about their performance and areas for improvement. They can also be used to identify training needs and development opportunities.

See Also

  1. Behavioral Observation Scales (BOS): Similar to BARS, BOS is an assessment tool used to evaluate observed behaviors. While BARS uses specific behavioral examples to anchor ratings, BOS measures the frequency of specific behaviors about job-related criteria.
  2. Critical Incident Technique: The Critical Incident Technique identifies and describes particularly effective and ineffective behaviors in job performance. BARS often use examples (or "critical incidents") as anchors, making them directly related.
  3. Performance Appraisal: BARS is a method used within the broader context of performance appraisal, where superiors evaluate an employee's job performance.
  4. 360 degree feedback: This feedback process involves employees receiving anonymous feedback from those around them, including peers, managers, subordinates, and sometimes clients. BARS can be one of the tools employed within a 360-degree feedback system.
  5. Job Analysis: A comprehensive job analysis is necessary to identify key performance areas and behaviors before BARS can be created for a specific job role. This ensures that the BARS is accurate and relevant to the job.
  6. Competency Modeling: BARS often target specific competencies or behaviors that are deemed critical for effective performance in a job role. Competency modeling helps identify these essential competencies.
  7. Management by Objectives (MBO) : MBO is a performance appraisal method where managers and employees set and agree upon specific objectives for the latter to achieve. Though different in approach from BARS, both are tools for better performance management.
  8. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: BARS is a tool used within the field of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. This scientific discipline focuses on understanding and managing human behavior in the workplace.