Interesting article and paper. Their alternatives are funny:
"But is there a better way of choosing individuals for promotion? It turns out that there is, say Pluchino and co. Their model shows that two other strategies outperform the conventional method of promotion.
The first is to alternately promote first the most competent and then the least competent individuals. And the second is to promote individuals at random. Both of these methods improve, or at least do not diminish, the efficiency of an organization."
Seems to me that an even better solution would be to consistenyly undo negative promotions. If a promotion doesn't have the desired effect, demote the individual back to the prior (presumably high-performing) position. It wouldn't be easy, and would require the appropriate corporate culture, but seemingly (and without proof) would result in a better organization overall.
I've actually seen that happen once. It seemed to work out well for everyone.
I guess this goes back to the axiom (if I remember it correctly) of "you only rise to your level of incompetence" (or something like that).
It reminds me of a line in the movie "Magnum Force" where Dirty Harry says "Man's got to know his limitations"
But yeah, I've seen it a couple of times where someone got promoted and then things blew up and were demoted back to their original level. One person took it positively (they were releaved to be out of the higher position) and another person who took it hard (felt they had failed and were worthless). But that was years ago (like 1990) and I haven't seen anything like that recently.
According to Wikipedia, the Peter Principle actually states "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence." Note the positive (if you will) spin, rather than the restrictive "only." I think that is significant.
The precise phrase is: "Companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to management (generally middle management), in order to limit the amount of damage they're capable of doing."
And as Dogbert says: "leadership is nature's way of removing morons from the productive flow".
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill ~