Thursday, 20 October 2011

Delegation: The Pyle Principle

The Peter Principle is the name given to the notion that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to the level of his incompetence." In turn, Peter's Corollary holds that: 
""in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out their duties" and adds that "work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence". "Managing upward" is the concept of a subordinate finding ways to subtly "manage" superiors in order to limit the damage that they end up doing."
But the suggestion that "work is accomplished" in such an organisation implies successful delegation by management, itself a sign of management competence. That can't be true of an organisation governed by the Peter Principle, since surely it is incompetent from the top down. In such an organisation, therefore, it is more likely that issues are delegated to the level of incompetence and less and less is accomplished. Accordingly, either we should re-define Peter's Corollary or (acknowledging that delegation to the incompetent could be a tactic employed in otherwise sound organisations, e.g. to kill an unpopular project) we should proclaim a fresh principle. 

How about the Pyle Principle?

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