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Peter Principle

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noun
  1. any of several satirical “laws” concerning organizational structure, especially one that holds that people tend to be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence.
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Origin of Peter Principle

from the title of a book by Laurence J. Peter (born 1919), Canadian educator
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for peter principle

Peter Principle

noun
  1. the Peter Principle the theory, usually taken facetiously, that all members in a hierarchy rise to their own level of incompetence
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Word Origin

C20: from the book The Peter Principle (1969) by Dr. Lawrence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, in which the theory was originally propounded
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for peter principle

Peter Principle

1968, "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence," named for (and by) Laurence Johnston Peter (1919-1990) Canadian-born U.S. educationalist and author, who described it in his book of the same name (1969).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

peter principle in Culture

Peter Principle

A rule of organizations that states, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Formulated by Laurence J. Peter, this rule is supposed to explain occupational incompetence.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.