A View of What Can Happen When Behavioral Expectation Scales are Developed in One Setting and Used in Another

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2 formats of Behavioral Expectation Scale, effectiveness in transplanted setting

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Pairs of supervisors in 2 large hospitals rated 24 groups of their subordinate nurses, using P. C. Smith and L. M. Kendall's Behavioral Expectation Scale (BES) and a simpler, numerically anchored format. A counter-balanced research design was used to explore the differences in the operational effectiveness of the 2 formats. Results indicate that in terms of interrater reliability and confidence in ratings, the BES was slightly superior. However, when the simpler scale was used there was significantly less leniency effect and raters were better able to discriminate among different ratees in terms of performance. It is concluded that when a behavioral expectation scale is transplanted from one setting to another, the effectiveness of the scaled-expectations format may suffer because the raters do not participate in scale development and/or certain anchors are inappropriate for the new situation.

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Journal of Applied Psychology, v. 59, issue 2, p. 197-201