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Kodak Part Two

I had been thinking about the Kodak debacle when I remembered this –

The Peter Principle states that “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”, meaning that employees tend to be promoted until they reach a position in which they cannot work competently. It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book The Peter Principle, a humorous [1] treatise, which also introduced the “salutary science of hierarchiology.”The principle holds that in a hierarchy, members are promoted so long as they work competently. Eventually they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent (their “level of incompetence”), and there they remain, being unable to earn further promotions. Peter’s Corollary states that “in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out their duties” and adds that “work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.” “Managing upward” is the concept of a subordinate finding ways to subtly “manage” superiors in order to limit the damage that they end up doing.This principle can be modeled and has theoretical validity for simulations.[2] However, there has been no large-scale statistical verification of the Peter Principle, and most evidence given for the axiom is intended to be humorous and is usually anecdotal.



  1. Richard Fakhry says:

    Having reached the stage of “Grumpy Old Bastard” and run a business for 30+ years I can confirm the Peter Principal is still alive and well.
    Now working as part of a large national company you still see the situation where a debate over expenses related to staff coffee etc takes a much greater significance and takes far greater time for “The Board” to consider than multi million dollar capital expenditure.

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