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“How Could the Incompetent Be on Such a High Position?”

“How Could the Incompetent Be on Such a High Position?”

Posted August. 09, 2002 22:18,   


“The Peter Principle”

Written by Laurence J. Peter & R. Hull,

Translated by Nah Eun-young

200 pages, ₩10,000, 21 Century Books

"How could he get promoted to such a high position with such a poor performance?"

In every organization, some people are said this way. More surprising is what people, who have known them, are whispering; "That guy was quite a legend in the past. But I don`t know why he is such a mess nowadays."

What makes this happen? The author makes a relatively easy diagnosis, which is the so-called `the Peter Principle`.

According to the Peter Principle, every person, who works in a hierarchical organization, tends to be willing to get promoted to the level, which he becomes incapacitated.

He is riding the ladder of his career since he believes that the organization will promote him as long as he works hard. But only after he takes on the job, which does not suit him, or which is beyond his power, he stops riding the ladder disgracing himself.

Then those who are obsessed with work for promotion are no longer `the heroes of virtues` The more such workaholics, the more organizations would be filled with incapable workers.

More tragic is the fact that these incapable people, who work hard, may kick out innovative people, who could contribute greatly to the organization.

Then what shall we do? The author advises that people should be satisfied with where they are when they reach a place where they can fully display their capabilities.

But is it really OK for us to follow his advise in this cutthroat competition age? Maybe the organization that follows his advise is the organization that wins in limitless competitions.

Yoon-Jong Yoo gustav@donga.com