Peter Principle

AAA

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.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Corporate Ladder

    A conceptualized view of a company's employment hierarchy in ...
  2. CFA Institute

    Formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and ...
  3. Chartered Financial Analyst - CFA

    A professional designation given by the CFA Institute (formerly ...
  4. Public

    A reference to anything that can be possessed or freely researched ...
  5. Public Company

    A company that has issued securities through an initial public ...
  6. Credibility Theory

    Tools, policies, and procedures used by actuaries when examining ...
Related Articles
  1. Active Trading Fundamentals

    Evaluating A Company's Management

    Financial statements don't tell you everything about a company's health. Investigate the management behind the numbers!
  2. Options & Futures

    Should Employees Be Compensated With Stock Options?

    Learn the good, the bad and the ugly sides of this type of payout.
  3. Options & Futures

    When Insiders Buy, Should Investors Join Them?

    Insider tracking can inform your investment strategy, but it requires research and a level head. Find out what to look for.
  4. Investing

    Doing More With Less: The Sales-Per-Employee Ratio

    If used properly, this ratio can give you insight into a company's productivity and financial health.
  5. Home & Auto

    Protect Your Company From Employee Lawsuits

    Understanding employment practices liability insurance is easy, once you know the basics.
  6. Economics

    What is a roll-up merger and why does it occur?

    Find out what a roll-up merger is and how it is executed. See why roll-ups might bring added efficiency and competition into a fragmented market.
  7. Professionals

    How do companies measure labor supply in human resources planning?

    Find out how and why a company's human resources department would measure labor supply, and what policies would address a shortage or surplus.
  8. Fundamental Analysis

    Why are OTC (over-the-counter) transactions controversial?

    Learn more about over-the-counter transactions, and why OTC traders are considered riskier than traders working with larger market exchanges.
  9. Economics

    What is a diseconomy of scale and how does this occur?

    Take a deeper look into diseconomies of scale, the economic phenomenon that can make companies less efficient as they become too large.
  10. Fundamental Analysis

    What is the difference between cost of equity and cost of capital?

    Read about some of the differences between a company's cost of equity and its cost of capital, two measures of its required returns on raised capital.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Command Economy

    A system where the government, rather than the free market, determines what goods should be produced, how much should be ...
  2. Prospectus

    A formal legal document, which is required by and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that provides details ...
  3. Treasury Bond - T-Bond

    A marketable, fixed-interest U.S. government debt security with a maturity of more than 10 years. Treasury bonds make interest ...
  4. Weight Of Ice, Snow Or Sleet Insurance

    Financial protection against damage caused to property by winter weather specifically, damage caused if a roof caves in because ...
  5. Weather Insurance

    A type of protection against a financial loss that may be incurred because of rain, snow, storms, wind, fog, undesirable ...
  6. Portfolio Turnover

    A measure of how frequently assets within a fund are bought and sold by the managers. Portfolio turnover is calculated by ...
Trading Center