The Peter Principle is basically this: in an organizational hierarchy (like the one in which you very likely are employed), each person tends to be promoted to his or her “level of incompetence”. That is, people tend to be upwardly mobile until the point where they can no longer satisfy their job requirements. Here, they languish, and create all sorts of problems for those with and for whom they work. Through a series of case studies and with the use of hilarious pseudo-scientific jargon, Dr. Peter, a self-described “heirarcheologist”, explains why it is that hierarchies reinforce their own internal structure rather than serve the needs of their customers; why those who least deserve promotions are granted them; and why incompetence seems to be so very rampant in organizations large and small. Initially, these claims can seem somewhat counter-intuitive. After all, how can organizations continue to function if a majority of employees are incompetent? Read The Peter Principle for the answer – equal parts comedy, tragedy, and irony.
Ultimately, The Peter Principle is a Pandora’s Box, of sorts. Once you read it, you won’t ever again be able to look at your employment the same way. However, the trade-off is that you’ll definitely be inspired to rid yourself and your business of the oversights and false assumptions that put this Principle into practice.