This article was first published in DATAMATION, April, 1974, page 123, 125. Although this article appeared in an April issue, which traditionally contained some humorous articles, this article is very astute and critical of upper echelon management in a tongue in cheek way. My experience as a systems programmer, software engineer in factory automation, chief engineer of a computer company and finally consultant have given me much insight and I have seen many cases where the Inverse Peter Principle applies. Since I cannot find the article in the internet today, I feel its humour and wisdom should not be lost on today’s “doers”.
The Inverse Peter Principle
AFTER READING The Peter Principle and its sequel The Peter Prescription it has occurred to me that Dr. Peter, astute though he undoubtedly is, got the whole process backward when he stated that an employee starts off competent, then rises through promotion to a position where he is not competent to perform his job. I have found that more often than not, the very opposite happens: those employees who demonstrate competence in performing menial technical tasks tend to remain at the bottom performing those tasks, since it is in the company’s interest to make sure those basic functions are performed with as little fuss and retraining of newcomers as possible. Continue reading “The Inverse Peter Principle”