Promotion dynamics the Peter Principle: Incumbents vs. external hires
Pablo Acosta ()
Labour Economics, 2010, vol. 17, issue 6, 975-986
The "Peter Principle" (Peter and Hull, 1969; Fairburn and Malcomson, 2001; Lazear, 2004) suggests that individuals are "promoted to their level of incompetence". A corollary of the "Peter Principle" prediction is that external hires should have an advantage when competing with incumbents for a higher position. Using five years of personnel records from a single large U.S. corporation, this paper contributes to the literature on internal labor markets and intra-firm job mobility by testing this prediction for career advancement. Results support the idea of differences in promotion dynamics among incumbents and external hires, since past career advancement within the firm result in a lower probability of subsequent promotion, even after controlling for workers' heterogeneity and tenure on the current job. The advantage for external hires does not hold once other job changes (lateral transfers, task reorganizations) are considered, highlighting that promotions are a very different job placement mechanism than transfers. Overall, the evidence points out towards declining performance following promotion, as opposed to alternative competing hypothesis of probation placement or "handicapping" external candidates.
Keywords: Promotions; Internal-external; hires; Job; mobility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:6:p:975-986
Access Statistics for this article
Labour Economics is currently edited by A. Ichino
More articles in Labour Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().