Calls for public accountability in higher education are widespread and higher educational organizations are under pressure to demonstrate "value for money" performance. Organizational self-assessment is one response to the pressure for public accountability but self-assessment exercises thus far have largely relied on criteria that are both subjective and untested. This paper describes a Hong Kong study that attempted to produce more objective assessment criteria through the development of organizational self-assessment scales for Hong Kong higher educational organizations. A modified version of the behaviourally anchored rating scales (BARS) procedure resulted in four organizational effectiveness scales capable of producing valid and reliable ratings for higher educational organizations in Hong Kong. The nature of the scales highlighted human resource management issues that are current in Hong Kong higher education and are likely to be relevant to other higher education systems that, in common with Hong Kong, rely largely on public funding.