Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Peter Principle validates everything I've suspected about our society here in the United States and totally puts it into context I can understand.

Have you ever heard of the Peter Principle? I stumbled across it yesterday in another random search, and it totally validated how I feel most people in our (read United States) society are in all actuality, mediocre human beings. The Peter Principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter, and the overall idea is that our society is structured in such a way that people are promoted into positions for which they are doomed to failure. This is because people are not assessed on what they can do, but on their accomplishments in a previous position. So the higher and higher they go up the promotion ladder, every person eventually reaches a plateau called "The Level of Incompetence" in which they are unsuited to perform their job. Once they reach that plateau, they can't get promoted out of it because they are terrible at their job, and they can't get demoted because they deserved to be promoted. So they are stuck. In other words, "ambitious people will always rise to their level of incompetence." It's a fascinating take on the world and when I think about it, it makes so much sense to me because I see incompetent people all the time holding down positions they are incapable of performing. How did they get there? Easy, they were good at their last job.

Watch the video below if you have the time. It explains so much about this wonderful little theory that provides an answer as to why there's so much incompetence in every day America.


  1. This reminds me of the time I managed a jewelry store. I was a terrific salesperson and made a lot of sales. Rather than just giving me a good commission, I was forced to become store manager to validate all the money I was making. I was not a good manager and really didn't want to manage. My bosses actually moved me away from what i did best to make them money.

  2. It's good I have no ambition so I never have to worry about that.

  3. Reminds me of Star Trek: The Movie (the first one). Where they eventually demoted Kirk back to Captain because he sucked at being an Admiral (or did the demotion happen in a later film? It's been too long).

    1. Actually I think he demoted himself in the first one to take command of the Enterprise. In the fourth one he was demoted for stealing the Enterprise in the third one and getting it blown up.

  4. This is probably true if people take the promotion just for money. But if you take it because it's something you want to do, then most likely you will be good at it.

  5. The Peter Principle has always made sense to me, but too I've also see in work places how promotions also depend on who is friends with the boss and which individuals know how to suck up. It's like a high school clique.