The Dilbert Principle


The Dilbert Principle

The Dilbert Principle refers to a 1990s satirical observation by Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams stating that 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.

Adams explained the principle in a 1995 Wall Street Journal article. Adams then expanded his study of the Dilbert Principle in a satirical 1996 book of the same name, which is required or recommended reading at some management and business programs. [http://mot.berkeley.edu/Berkeley_Students/Students/Courses/Course_Descriptions/proj_mgmt_syll.pdf] [ [http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~hendrixs/classes/readings.html Readings for CSCI 3308 - Software Engineering Methods and Tools ] ] [http://www.ume.maine.edu/~pubadmin/kn/words/400syl1.htmDead link|date=March 2008] [ [http://engr.smu.edu/~frailey/cse7315/syllabus.htm Syllabus - SW Project Mgt - CSE5315 - 1998 ] ] [ [http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/fac/holt/em501/em501.htm EM 501 Management of Organizations ] ] In the book, Adams writes that, in terms of effectiveness, use of the Dilbert Principle is akin to a band of gorillas choosing an alpha-squirrel to lead them. The book has sold more than a million copies and was on the "New York Times" bestseller list for 43 weeks.

Although academics may reject the principle's veracity, noting that it is at odds with traditional human resources management techniques, it originated as a form of satire that addressed a much-discussed issue in the business world.

The Dilbert Principle is a variation of the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle addresses the practice of hierarchical organizations (such as corporations and government agencies) to use promotions as a way to reward employees who demonstrate competence in their current position. It goes on to state that, due to this practice, a competent employee will eventually be promoted to, and remain at, a position at which he or she is incompetent. The Dilbert Principle, on the other hand, claims that incompetent employees are intentionally promoted to prevent them from doing harm (such as reducing product quality, offending customers, offending employees, etc.) The Dilbert Principle draws upon the idea that in certain situations, the upper echelons of an organization can have little relevance to the actual production and the majority of real, productive work in a company is done by people lower in the power ladder. It is possible for both Principles to be simultaneously active in a single organization.Fact|date=December 2007

See also

* Management
* Peter Principle

Notes

References

* "The Dilbert Principle" by Scott Adams, HarperBusiness 1996 ISBN 0-88730-858-9
* [http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/bized/p16-21.pdf 2002 interview with Scott Adams] , Funny Business, "BizEd", The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, November/December
* Adams, Scott. "Manager's journal: The Dilbert principle. " "Wall Street Journal" [New York, N.Y.] 22 May 1995, Eastern edition: A12. "Wall Street Journal".


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