The Coffee Shop – The Peter Principle: the scientific reason everything is a bit s**t

The Coffee Shop is an open thread-style discussion forum for human interest news of the day.

From Delve:

We live in times of seemingly unending progress – and yet somehow things still always go wrong: trains are late, broadband speeds suck and the promotion always goes to the wrong person. Well, it turns out there’s an explanation for all this – and progress itself is the problem. Meet The Peter Principle.


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6 Responses to The Coffee Shop – The Peter Principle: the scientific reason everything is a bit s**t

  1. I got “The Peter Principle” when it first came out. That book influenced my thinking in profound ways ever since. Dr. Laurence Peter was an educator, basing his observations on the educational system, but the Principle works across all hierarchical systems.

    One thing that should be obvious to all of us is how the incompetents at the top of a hierarchy protect their turf. That’s why whistleblowers are such a threat, and are pursued so relentlessly. We now see the culmination of the phenomenon in the Presidential nomination process. Look at who the Republicans and Democrats end up with: as almost any pollster will tell you, the two most disliked candidates in the history of American politics.

    Much of that has to do with the fact the RNC and DNC are led by people who have reached (or exceeded) their level of incompetence, but we don’t have a reliable mechanism for getting rid of them.

  2. Good morning, Chuck. Perhaps this is a sub-principle — the ones in power all to often lack the confidence heed the advice of experts, as well as the flip side — people who are overly confident, but in actuality know only enough to be (barely, sometimes) functional, but not enough to know that there are things they do not know. Then there is hubris, which I put in another category altogether. Many sides to this coin. 😉

    And yeah, I imagine this election being subject of many future management case studies.

  3. wordcloud9 says:

    First class people hire first class people; second class people hire third class people
    – Manfred Kets de Vries?

  4. wordcloud9 says:

    I double-checked – look like Kets de Vries is most often credited with saying it.

  5. wordcloud9 says:

    Hi Chuck – I’ve thought about what you said, and I get a different lesson out of what’s happening. The reason the two “most hated” hopefuls in America are going to be the nominees of their respective parties is that a lot of the people who hate them didn’t get out and vote. If you don’t vote, your opinion doesn’t count.

  6. Excellent, Nona!!

    First class people hire first class people; second class people hire third class people.

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