Major Teoh’s Blog

February 10, 2007

Peter’s Principle

Filed under: Management — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 6:32 pm

Peter’s Principle

When it comes to Peter’s Principle where a person is promoted to the next level of incompetence, many of us are guilty of this crime purely because we do not do a good job in selecting and recommending the best person for the job.

There is a tendency of placing a square peg in the round hole and vice-versa. In the selection process we are either make too many assumptions and/or blinded by biasness, nepotism and cronyism.

As pointed out, in the article, “The Peter Principle” by Heera Singh generally people tend to assume. For example, we tend to assume that a good teacher will make a good headmaster; a good surgeon will make a good hospital administrator; Are you sure?

Being a teacher and a head master are two worlds apart. So are the appointments of a surgeon and a hospital administrator. So what will happen then if go ahead and assume the obvious?

In the former case, we would have promoted a devoted teacher with a passion to teach, to the post of a headmaster which he does not like at all. Promoting him to headmaster will put him in a level of incompetence. He will be deemed to be incompetent. He will be bored to death managing a school when his real calling is teaching and interacting with the children. This is where his passion lies.

If we care to look around there are many cases of this kind where people are promoted to their level of incompetence. Not that they are no good but merely not suitable for the position.

Just sharing.


Major (Rtd) Teoh


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