Forced Distribution of Responses: Survey Example

Have you ever noticed that sometimes a participant will rate all items as extremely high or extremely low. This type of rating could be a form of "Rater Bias".

This is an example of how a questionnaire form can limit the number of a specific type or class of ratings that a participant can make. In this sample questionnaire, there are 4 competencies. Within each competency, there are 5 items (statements) that must be rated using a 3-point rating scale. However, the computer will only allow 5 ratings of "Great" for the entire form. You can rate any of the items however you want. However, you can only rate no more than 5 items as "Great". The computer will also limit you to no more than 5 "Could Improve" ratings. Try it. Try to select more than 5 of the "Great!" or "Could Improve" ratings. As soon as you select 5, you will be prevented from selecting more. This is all automatic. Isn't this "Great!"?

In the form below, you need to select a combination of ratings (some high and some low). You cannot select the highest rating or the lowest rating for all of the items.

Problem Solving

Addressing issues as they arise using a variety of techniques. Identifies goals, solution paths, and expected outcomes. Calculates the cost/benefit analysis of various solutions.
Great! Ok Could
Develops innovative solutions to problems
Identifies potential responses to a problem
Asks the "right" questions to size up or evaluate situations
Actively seeks the root cause of a problem
Evaluates alternative courses of action


Works with others to accomplish goals.
Great! Ok Could
Actively participates as a team member
Creates a culture that fosters and values collaboration
Fosters teamwork rather than individual competition.
Creates opportunities to learn with other team members
Helps other managers in need of assistance

Bias for Action

Taking ownership for and working towards goals within
the allocated time and resources.
Great! Ok Could
Follows-up and takes action when goals are not met to ensure better results in the future
Set high standards in their performance
Accomplishes goals on schedule and under budget
Demonstrates a well-organized and timely approach to achieve desired results
Seeks commitment from employees prior to assigning tasks


Achieves organizational objectives, within a dynamic environment. Balances efficiency, effectiveness and safety. Effectively utilizes limited resources. Establishes a shared vision for the department / organization.
Great! Ok Could
Demonstrates leadership and courage in critical situations
Able to influence others
Maintains high ethical standards
Gives direct, constructive, and actionable feedback
Provides individual coaching for employees as needed