Definition of Peter Principle in English:

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Peter Principle

Pronunciation: /ˈpēdər ˈprinsəpəl/
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."


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Pe·ter Prin·ci·ple

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