Peter Principle

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Description of Peter Principle. Explanation.

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Definition Peter Principle. Description.


The Peter Principle states that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence".


The cynical, humorous theory originated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull states that successful members of a hierarchical organization are eventually promoted to their highest level of competence, after which further promotion raises them to a level just beyond their highest level of competence.


The employee's incompetence is not necessarily caused only as a result of the higher-ranking position being "more difficult". Additionally it may be that the position is different from the position in which the employee previously excelled, and requires different skills, which the employee may not possess.


As a consequence, every post in any hierarchical organization tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties.


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Compare also: Hierarchy of Needs  |  Stretch Goals  |  Parkinson's Law  |  Organization Chart

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