Concept of the Managerial Escalator

Cite this


Management can be described as the process of accomplishing the set/target objectives through people. The concept of managerial escalator explains how the itinerary into management is through specialist activities. Individuals are likely to find that they increasingly have to handle both specialist and managerial activities (Rees 6). The nature of most firms is that the largest percentages of personnel are recruited for specialized roles and most managers come into the organizations through specialized activities. The number of wide-ranging managerial roles necessitating, for instance, synchronization of the work by a number of different specialist departments tends to be remarkably few. A professional background is the pedigree of most managers. In the beginning of their careers, a vast majority of managers most probably have worked at a lowly position in a specialized department (Rees & Porter 4). On the other hand, they may have learnt cutting-edge specialist proficiency through experience and/or training. This can be demonstrated by analysing the background of individuals who are charged with managerial responsibilities. Architectural managers, for instance, are usually from the ranks of specialist architects. Nursing officers will certainly have specialized training in nursing. A school principal will usually be a qualified teacher. Cricket managers are unvaryingly former professional players. These examples illustrate that the concept of managerial escalator fits with the experience of most managers. This paper will analyse the experience of two managers to show how their progression into management and current managerial activity fits into the concept of managerial escalator.

The theory of managerial escalator shows how specialists become managers. At first, the specialist may be engaged full-time on an activity in his/her field of specialization. The specialist may, over time, gain minor roles in supervision, probably informally. If, for a certain period, the individual performs the assigned roles competently, he/she could be promoted to a position with significant managerial functions within the organization (Rees & Porter 8). The emergence of new roles within organizations, for instance, team leaders, can result in specialists gaining considerable management roles while still in a junior rank. After a given period, the specialist individual could further climb the organization structure by getting another formal promotion within the organization or sometimes could shift to another. This could be as a direct result of gaining managerial experience on an informal basis. Many individuals seem to go up this escalator and may end up shifting entirely from their specialist activities to managerial roles.The restructuring of many organizations has increased the rate at which specialists accumulate managerial responsibilities. A decrease in the number of specialist advisors could also result in development managerial roles.

The precise progress of advancement usually varies from individual to individual. Nevertheless, the managerial escalator advancement is widespread. The managerial roles could be in their area of specialization, but the individual will be spending a significant (sometimes all) amount of their time managing other specialists, instead of participating in the specialist activity personally. The difference between the time an individual ought to be spending on managerial roles and the actual time spent is termed as the managerial gap. In a research survey by Rees and Porter (5) about how 50 different individuals rose to managerial positions, they found that 90 per cent had previously worked as specialists prior to assuming the managerial portfolios. Additionally, only 4.4 per cent had undergone formal training as a specialist prior to getting the managerial roles in their first appointment. Further, only 24 per cent had undergone management training before, and that was not effective most of the times.


In accomplishing this task, two interviews were performed on two managers working in two different organizations. The interview consisted of several open-ended queries pertaining to their managerial responsibilities and advancement into the current managerial position to assess the concept of managerial escalator.The first interviewee is a manager at a hypermarket and prior to her appointment to this position she was a store assistant. She has been employed in this sector for five years. Prior to assuming her managerial position, she received some training which revolved around motivating employees, addressing poor performance and meeting targets. Her key managerial priorities include achieving set targets for business and working to propel the hypermarket forward. She dedicates all her time to the accomplishment of these roles. She believes her best area is in staff motivation and she feels she needs to improve her skills in dealing with poor performance.She misses the working relationships she used to have with fellow colleagues while in her former position, nevertheless, she enjoys the new responsibilities and roles, being involved in determining the hypermarket’s plans and her knowledge that her managerial skills have contributed to the firm success. She acknowledged that management is challenging and motivating, and she could contemplate developing her career in the line of management.

The second interviewee is a supervisor in a retail outlet. His was an assistant manager in the same firm before his promotion and prior to that he was an assistant manager at another similar enterprise. He has worked in the retail sector for four years. Prior to assuming her current position, he received training from his area and duty managers in areas of staff motivation and motivation. He dedicates his time to his team and ensuring they attain the stipulated objectives and targets; most of his time is dedicated to these roles. He discloses that his strongest areas are management of personnel and sales. In addition, he feels he needs to develop more skills in the areas of setting priorities and time management. Incidentally, he confessed that he misses nothing from her former position as he now enjoys more freedom, roles and responsibilities that come with his current position. The part he relishes most about his current position is working with his team, achieving targets and motivating his team. In the future, he seeks to progress to an area manager and is working hard at it.

The concepts of escalator-progression into managerial responsibilities responses are evident and are supported by the responses from both interviews. The first manager was a store assistant prior to her promotion to the position of manager.As Rees and Porter notes, it is common for a specialist to be promoted to a managerial position if, over time, they competently perform their roles and activities (8). This is backed by the findings from the first interviewee because prior to her promotion to position of manager she was a store assistant in the same organization, and was promoted for her competent performance. Rees and Porter would classify this as a specialist progressing to a manager. Similarly, the second interviewee progressed rose from the position of an assistant manager to store manager. Prior to that, he was employed as an assistant manager in another enterprise. Despite the fact that he did not progress from a specialist position such as a store assistant to a manager, the concept of managerial escalator is still applicable, though at an advanced point in the cycle, not from the beginning, since he still progressed through a formal promotion within his current firm. These findings from both interviews affirm the concept that managerial escalator is the advancement of roles and duties, from specialists to managerial, in the course of time that aids specialists in acquisition of managerial skills but still developing operational skills concurrently (Ghuman, 45). This progression, as managerial roles and duties escalate and specialist responsibilities decline, develops the employee impeccable expertise in the organization.

Both managers underwent formal training prior to their promotion to their respective managerial positions.The first manager was trained on ways of addressing poor performance, staff motivation and target accomplishment and the second manager’s training was on administration and staff motivation. The purpose of the training was to avert a potential problem of a specialist failing to perform managerial roles and duties.Mertins, Heisig and Jens explain that conflicts can often arise between specialist and managerial activity (66). Management requires a certain set of circumstances, typically specialist knowledge. Specialist knowledge may be essential so that instructions are practical and may play a role of inspiration to others. If the individual tasked with managing in a specialist setting does not comprehend that environment, he/she will be under an inordinate, and conceivably insurmountable, handicap. Another role of the training could be toprevent the specialist concentrating on their previous specialist activities. Sometimes the commitment to the managerial roles could be low. It is common for a manager in a specialist setting to have undergone several years of training and only few days of training in management. This inevitably builds the inducement for managers to alter the balance of their activities in order to focus on what they like doing and what they feel equipped to do at the expenditure of the managerial activities of their occupation (Mertins, Heisig &Jens68). For that reason, the concept of managerial escalator still applies in these cases.

Both interviews show that both managers had pinpointed their priorities which highlight the fact that they are acting as managerial hybrids (individuals who combine specialist and managerial activity). Most managerial activities are probably undertaken by hybrids (Ghuman, 54). This is indicated by the response by the first manager that her priorities are accomplishing key objectives for the organization and assisting to propel the business forward, and by the second manager that his priorities include developing his team and accomplishing set targets and objectives. This indicates that their managerial gaps are small since managerial roles and duties take most of their time. This fits into the theory of managerial escalator as both managers devote a vast amount of their time managing other specialists instead of directly engaging in specialist activities personally. This is indicated by their statement by both managers that their best areasare employee motivation and staff management. This shows that there are close relations between the employees and management. Most managers gradually acquire managerial responsibility and change, in an escalator-like progression, from being specialists to being managers of specialists (Rees 6).

The interviews reveal that the first manager’s weakest area that needs improvement is in the addressing poor performance. Rees and Porter illustrate that managers are responsible for ensuring that their personal training and development fit in an integrated design with that of their employees (19). These are not activities that can be handled just by training departments or by sending employees on courses. For instance, the first manager acknowledges that she is missing her former working relationships with her co-workers. Since she was promoted from a store assistant (a specialist position) to a managerial role in the same firm, there could arise conflict between managerial and supervisory roles. This is because she will have to monitor and review the performance of her junior employees who were previously her co-workers as a store assistant. The case of the second manager revealed his weak area being in time management and priority setting. This could be a result of imbalance of his managerial gap. He had earlier indicated that most of his time is dedicated to his team and target accomplishment, this could mean that other managerial roles, for instance, administration could be ignored. The final finding of the interviews was that both managers plan to continue in the line of managerial positions. The first manager indicates that they will advance their managerial career and the second manager plans to keep progressing to be area manager. This means that the concept of managerial escalators will keep applying to them in the future.


The concept of managerial escalator revolves around people coming into work for the first time and then rising to management roles sometimes to the most senior management positions. The personal strengths and needs and those of the organization, trust, department and practice, determine how quickly an individual moves up the management escalator. However, the theory does not mean that anybody can start as porter and end up as a medical consultant but rather an individual has to have some expertise and skills in the area or could develop such skills through learning and training. Originally, an individual could be hired to perform specialist roles full time. This could be after professional training in the field of specialization. The competent specialist may progressively acquire minor managerial roles and duties, probably quite informally. After a given period of competent performance, it is not uncommon for the specialist to be promoted, usually, to a position with more managerial responsibilities. With time, there could be further promotion either in the same firm or another one. This may be heralded by accumulation of managerial responsibility informally or through formal training making the individual multi-skilled (hybrid). The restructuring of the organizational structures to be more flexible aids the progression of employees within an organization. The two interviews reveal that the theory of managerial escalator fits into the experience of both managers. Both progressed from specialists activities to managerial responsibilities and were trained to be managerial hybrids prior to their promotion. This was in order to enable them preform their roles effectively. Consequently, their training enhanced their capabilities because their managerial gaps are small. Nevertheless, there are often conflicts between work that those with managerial roles and duties prefer to do and organizational priorities. The concept will keep applying to them because they plan to keep advancing their careers in the field of management.

Works Cited

Ghuman, Karminder. Management concepts practice and cases. New Delhi: McGraw Hill Education Private Limited, 2010. Print.

Mertins, Kai, Heisig Peter and Jens Vorbeck. Knowledgemanagement, concepts and best practices. 2nd ed. New York, Springer, 2003. Print.

Rees, David and Christine Porter. The skills of management. 6th ed. London: Cengage Learning EMEA, 2008. Print.

Rees, David. The importance of the managerial hybrid. Industrial and commercial training, 28 (7): 5-8.

Cite this paper

Select style


BusinessEssay. (2022, July 14). Concept of the Managerial Escalator. Retrieved from


BusinessEssay. (2022, July 14). Concept of the Managerial Escalator.

Work Cited

"Concept of the Managerial Escalator." BusinessEssay, 14 July 2022,


BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Concept of the Managerial Escalator'. 14 July.


BusinessEssay. 2022. "Concept of the Managerial Escalator." July 14, 2022.

1. BusinessEssay. "Concept of the Managerial Escalator." July 14, 2022.


BusinessEssay. "Concept of the Managerial Escalator." July 14, 2022.