Organizations: A Glossary of Incompetence

It could be argued that the world does not need a new science, but Laurence J. Peter, a professor of education at the University of Southern California, has invented one. He calls it hierarchiology, or the study of hierarchies in modern organizations. According to a satiric new book called The Peter Principle (Morrow; $4.95), which he wrote with the help of Canadian Freelancer Raymond Hull, the basic premise of hierarchiology is that "with few exceptions men bungle their affairs." The proof? Look at any large bureaucracy.

The "Peter Principle" states that "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to...

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