Why do losers always sit in important places?

In a hierarchy, each employee rises to his level of incompetence.

(In original English: In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”)

The 'mechanism' described by Peter works in such a way that an employee who functions properly in his first position within the hierarchy is in principle eligible for promotion to a higher position. If he also functions properly in that next function, the path to another higher function, if available, will be open again.

However, this process stops when the employee turns out to be unable to function as expected after his promotion. His (extra) skills or traits are apparently overrated. From that moment on, however, its usefulness for the organisation decreases rapidly, if necessary until it (on balance) makes a negative contribution to the organisation.

Unfortunately, however, it is not possible to return to his previous position: both the employee and the organization would implicitly admit that they had made an error of assessment. Thus, the employee remains in his position despite problems. Peter gives in his book a large number of fictional and hilariously formulated examples of these situations: usually these are managerial tasks that the employee does not seem to be able to cope with. The employee fails to acquire the necessary knowledge (or does not attempt to do so). He either continues to do his old work without doing what he should do in his new job, or he develops a number of defense and displacement mechanisms to mask his malfunctioning. For example, he will pay disproportionate attention to matters which are not essential to the proper execution of his work.

Peter argues that if this process continues long enough, then in theory each employee can reach his level of incompetence. If all employees in a hierarchy have reached this level, the amount of useful work done is zero, says Peter. #Dailywisdom