Share this entry

Peter Principle Syllabification: Pe·ter Prin·ci·ple
Pronunciation: /ˈpēdər ˈprinsəpəl/

Definition of Peter Principle in English:

The principle that members of a hierarchy are promoted until they reach the level at which they are no longer competent.
Example sentences
  • The Peter Principle seeks to explain why so many organizations have so much incompetence, and it explains this by saying that people are promoted until they are in over their head.
  • The "Peter Principle" states that "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; the cream rises until it sours."

Origin

1960s: named after Laurence J. Peter (1919–90), the American educationalist who put forward the theory.

Definition of Peter Principle in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources