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The Hilarious But Scientific Explanation for Why We Fail

People are capable of doing amazing things. When we work together we can go to the moon! We can have all of the world’s information searchable from this thing in our pocket! We can change the world! But inevitably, we’re bound to screw it up somehow. Why? It’s called the Peter Principle.


The Peter Principle is actually very simple. People who are good at their current jobs will keep getting promoted up until the point where they reach their level of incompetence at a future position, which means they start being bad at their jobs. Eventually, companies or any organization ordered in a hierarchy will have multiple people flailing around in positions they’re simply not good at, turning everything the company does into shit.

So if you’re ever wondering how the hell something awful can happen, just think about the incompetence at the top. The culture of promotions and the embarrassment of demotions encourages this set up for failure. Here is Adam Westbrook explaining the famous Peter Principle as the scientific reason why everything is just a bit shit.


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This kind of content is why everything is shit. The “peter principle” is not scientific. It’s a great way for line workers to insult their bosses but nothing to base policy on. Anyone who has actually been involved in hiring/firing/promotion decisions can make it clear why it doesn’t make sense — when you hire/promote/fire someone you’re putting your own credibility on the line.

But it makes for an excellent topic for a slickly-produced but completely uninformative “video lecture.”