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critical incidents technique

James B. Shaw


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The critical incidents technique (CIT) was developed by Flanagan (1954) for assembling lists of behaviors that are critical to effective job performance . The procedure consists of four steps. 1 A panel of subject matter experts (SMEs), e.g., supervisors, job incumbents, or other knowledgeable persons, provides written examples of effective or ineffective job behaviors. These are called critical incidents. These examples indicate what led up to the behavior, what the employee actually did, the consequences of the behavior, and whether the consequences were under the control of the employee. 2 All the examples are put on index cards and then sorted into categories of similar behaviors (e.g., all cards that describe examples of how one would handle an emergency situation are grouped together). 3 The categories of behaviors identified in step 2 are given a name descriptive of the behaviors that comprise them (e.g., handling emergency situations). 4 These categories are then rated according to how critical or important they are for effective job performance. A refinement of the original CIT approach is to use two groups of SMEs. The second group is used to verify the work of the first group. Once the incidents have been developed and categorized by the first group of SMEs, the second group is given the names and definitions of all categories and a separate listing of all incidents. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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