The Peter principle states that “every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”. If someone is good at her job, she’ll be promoted into a job that demands different skills. If she’s good at the new job too, she’ll be promoted again, requiring yet another set of skills. One day, she will arrive at a job for which she is wholly unsuited, and there she will stick. Since when did a manager ever get sacked for anything?
The Peter Principle is satire: it mocks management and it mocks books about management. It is striking, then, that most people take it quite seriously. The Harvard Business Review has published numerous straight-faced responses.
Two questions, then: is the Peter principle true? If so, what can we do about it?