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peterrevised.html 09.09.2018

Helmar Kloss

The Peter Pronciple Revised, Copyright 2016

     The Peter Principle says that "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." (MLA Style: "Pe­ter, Laurence J(ohnston)." (Ency­clo­pĉ­dia Britannica 2009 Ulti­mate Re­fe­ren­ce Suite). Because of the professional experiences I have made in my life - especially in 14 years as freelance management con­sul­tant - I agree to a certain degree (it is no law that always reigns), but came to the conclusion that the picture drawn by Peter is much too optimistic. Why so?
      The Peter Principle does not take into account the following psy­chological con­se­quences: Incompetent people cannot tolerate com­petent people near and especially under themselves, i.e. amongst subordinate people. They accept only still more in­com­pe­tent subordinates and do every­thing - as far as their power and influence goes - to discredit more competent people, mock them, promote them to posts offside or scare them away, because they fear to be shown up by more com­pe­tent competitors.
      I would like this to be called the 'Peter-Kloss-Principle'.
      In politics, the 'Peter-Kloss-Principle' has especially de­vas­ta­ting consequences. First, the majority of the electorate is in­ca­pa­ble to detect incompetence and believes promises of the most skill­ful be­gui­lers. Second, expert knowledge does not count in po­li­tics, because almost everyone is incompetent. This becomes evident, for example, when almost all ministers believe to be able to manage every ministry. It seems that those who are almost totally ig­no­rant of social affairs - having no valuable knowledge in economy, so­cio­logy, psychology, history and other re­levant mat­ters, i.e. the most in­competent po­liticians - are the most suc­cess­ful. Per­haps not least, because they have less dif­fi­cul­ties and moral scru­ples to play the political power chess games that predo­minate in this field.