behaviourally-anchored rating scale

behaviourally-anchored rating scale (BARS)

a scale of behaviour patterns against which observed behaviour can be compared as a tool for analysing an individual's behaviour at work or elsewhere. To construct a BARS, various patterns of behaviour associated with a particular activity or aspect of work performance are compiled on a scale. These patterns are derived from earlier observation of behaviour or from behaviour patterns identified by analysis of CRITICAL INCIDENTS. The scale can thus be said to be ‘anchored’ in real behaviour. The behaviour of particular individuals can then be rated on this scale. The advantage of BARS is that they facilitate a fairly objective rating of behaviour since individual behaviour can be compared systematically against real behaviour patterns of other people. However, construction of these scales can be time-consuming and expensive because to be reliable they need to be based on a large population. An important use of rating scales of this type is in PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL. See OCCUPATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.