Dictionary.com

Peter Principle

Save This Word!

noun
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.
QUIZ
SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of Peter Principle

From of a book of the same name (1969) by Laurence J. Peter (1919–90), Canadian educator
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use Peter Principle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Peter Principle

Peter Principle

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

Word Origin for Peter Principle

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

Cultural definitions for Peter Principle

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.

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.
FEEDBACK