Peter Principle

Definition of 'Peter Principle'


An observation that in an organizational hierarchy, every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence. The Peter Principle is based on the notion that employees will get promoted as long as they are competent, but at some point will fail to get promoted beyond a certain job because it has become too challenging for them. Employees rise to their level of incompetence and stay there. Over time, every position in the hierarchy will be filled by someone who is not competent enough to carry out his or her new duties.

Investopedia explains 'Peter Principle'


The Peter Principle was first observed by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and published in his book "The Peter Principle" in 1968. Dr. Peter also states that a promotion to the higher-ranking job position may not necessarily reveal the employee's incompetence, but rather the new position may require different skills the employee does not possess. Dr. Peter sums up the Peter Principle with the saying: "the cream rises until it sours." The Peter Principal can be a problem for businesses which can be solved through continued education. Even with proper employee training, the Peter Principal predicts the employee will eventually get to a position where they are incompetent because of further promotion.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Cash and Carry Transaction

    A type of transaction in the futures market in which the cash or spot price of a commodity is below the futures contract price. Cash and carry transactions are considered arbitrage transactions.
  2. Amplitude

    The difference in price from the midpoint of a trough to the midpoint of a peak of a security. Amplitude is positive when calculating a bullish retracement (when calculating from trough to peak) and negative when calculating a bearish retracement (when calculating from peak to trough).
  3. Ascending Triangle

    A bullish chart pattern used in technical analysis that is easily recognizable by the distinct shape created by two trendlines. In an ascending triangle, one trendline is drawn horizontally at a level that has historically prevented the price from heading higher, while the second trendline connects a series of increasing troughs.
  4. National Best Bid and Offer - NBBO

    A term applying to the SEC requirement that brokers must guarantee customers the best available ask price when they buy securities and the best available bid price when they sell securities.
  5. Maintenance Margin

    The minimum amount of equity that must be maintained in a margin account. In the context of the NYSE and FINRA, after an investor has bought securities on margin, the minimum required level of margin is 25% of the total market value of the securities in the margin account.
  6. Leased Bank Guarantee

    A bank guarantee that is leased to a third party for a specific fee. The issuing bank will conduct due diligence on the creditworthiness of the customer looking to secure a bank guarantee, then lease a guarantee to that customer for a set amount of money and over a set period of time, typically less than two years.
Trading Center