Unfortunately, the Peter Principle doesn’t work in Corporate America the way you describe. Most people who are not competent (or qualified) to be in management jobs are the very ones promoted to management jobs. Not because they’re good at what they do, but because of age, race, sex, favoritism, and even “Who’s…
Gallup performed research that confirmed this.
Working in and trying to drive org change in Corporate America confirmed it for me. It was actually quite rage-inducing.
White dudes get coached but minorities (including older people and even White males) are far more likely to just get fired, demoted, or removed through a lay-off. However, they’re far less likely to be as bad because they held to a higher standard.
Leaders aren’t much better.
Look, most people in corporate are from the professional-managerial class (PMC) and most have middle-class backgrounds. The biggest characteristic of the middle class is an obsession with how other people view them.
This is precisely why being promoted in corporate is far more about optics than it is about competence. So you get these show horses in positions of authority who lack substance.
Here’s a sociological perspective:
Most of these widely accepted organizational theories about human behavior and promotion are derived from research done by PMC on PMC, largely White male and without checking biases on race, gender, and class etc.
Higher social status means you grow up with more options, more safety nets, and more things given than earned through adversity. Add in the social advantages derived from race and gender.
It’s a recipe for people with a high sense of entitlement and blindness to their own incompetence.
The Peter Principle is the phenomenon of what happens when the privileged fail up.