The Managerial Escalator

In their well-documented work, Skills of Management, Rees & Porter, 2008 describe the necessary skills of management in the organization. The book provides an extensive theoretical overview of contemporary management-oriented issues supported by valuable and illustrative empirical and practical evidence (Rees & Porter 2008). Chapter one of the book Skills of Management will be explored to find its relation to management. This report examines the extent to which Managerial Escalator fits in the experience of two managers. This report will be divided into two categories: the first part will explore Managerial Escalator as described by Rees & Porter (2008). This part will include the main purpose, basic concepts and point of view of Rees & Porter, 2008. The second part will explore results from two interviewed managers. This part will analyze managerial responsibilities of the interviewed managers. It will also establish the extent to which their current managerial activities and advancement into management fits the concept of Managerial Escalator. Ultimate findings of interview reports are compared and contrasted with the ideas and approaches, and relevance of scholarly inferences is hereby evaluated.

According to Rees & Porter (2008), managerial escalator concept seeks to describe how a specialist becomes a manager. The concept explains how a specialist uses most of his time as an employee at the beginning. It is possible for a specialist to be employed for 100% of his time. However, a competent specialist acquires supervisory responsibility from his managers mostly through informal methods. After acquiring competent performance, it is likely that the specialist will be promoted. This duration can be five years but can be as short as one year. Rees & Porter (2008) gives organizational structure through which promotion of the specialist should involve managerial responsibility. Developing concepts and team leader responsibilities make a specialist acquire important management responsibilities despite the junior position he occupies. The specialist takes a few years; say five years to get the further formal promotion which can be within the same organization or another similar organization. The Certain amount of growth of managerial responsibilities on informal basis usually preceded such promotion. Mostly, people are carried along this staircase and might finish with all their time or most of it on the managerial side. The accurate course of progress varies from one person to the other. However, this escalator progression is very common in organizations (Rees & Porter 2008).

The concept of managerial escalator purports setting of specific stages and professional permutations that are happening to specialists of the company following the decision to promote them (Rees & Porter 2008). The process of professional promotion is not an automatic one in its nature (Aldferer 1972). In accordance with the reviewed scholarly study, before a specialist is promoted to occupy a managerial position, he or she has to acquire specific skills and qualifications to meet the requirements of the newly occupied position (Morse 2003).

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However, the international business community is puzzled with specific issues. The most relevant aspect of the problem addressed by the authors is whether specific training has to be provided to those specialists, who have been promoted to occupy managerial positions (Rees & Porter 2008). The authors broadly explore the experience accumulated by domestically established business units as well as the practice of transnational business giants. The reviewed activity of business entities clearly show the trend that the decision-making process is two-fold in its nature, and no exact answer can be given to that question. The first aspect of the problem is the determination whether the person, which is destined to be promoted integrally has the skills and characteristics of a manager (Herzberg 2003). Some specialist may naturally possess leadership skills and consequently may be automatically capable of adopting and evaluating important managerial decisions and be able to coordinate control and channel the work of the team (Robbins & Coulter 2005). In this case, they do not have to be additionally trained under the basics of the Managerial Escalator Program. Another key focus point of the research in question is whether any professional can be promoted to become a manager (Rees & Porter 2008). More exactly is it possible to train any person occupying the specialist position to be promoted to the ranks of managerial staff or talents of a true manager shall be innate to an individual?

As far as basic managerial concepts are concerned, the discussed elements of the Managerial Escalator are closely connected with the concepts of conventional management theory (Robins & Coulter 2005). In particular, the author emphasizes the aspects of planning, organization, and staffing. In accordance with fundamental elements of the Managerial Escalator Theory, these functions of a typical manager are normally well-exercised by an average professional, and special training is not usually necessary to perform these functions. Besides, the authors speculated over the concepts of leadership, control, and motivation of the staff. The researchers of the study concur in the opinion that, these elements normally need to be additionally cultivated and developed among the individuals seeking to be promoted or offered for promotion by the superiors. However, occasionally the individuals do inherently possess such traits. Therefore they are excellent “managerial material” as no resources related to their professional development have to be spent (Nicholson 2003).

Rees & Porter (2008) points out that, management comprises of control and direction of a group or groups of people for the purpose of harmonizing and coordinating the group/groups towards accomplishing similar organizational goals. In business management, management comprises the manipulation and deployment of human resources, natural resources, technological resources and financial resource. The managerial department is the center of effective and efficient operations strategies. Therefore, proper procedures have to be implemented if the business is willing to flourish. When the employees participate genuinely, the major attention area requires being the daily managerial behavior. This demands to review selection and performance of managers in different departments (Nicholson 2003).

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According to Rees & Porter (2008), the worst thing in an organization is promoting a person into the managerial job while letting him think he is do not require taking managerial responsibilities with the seriousness they deserve. Participation also requires to be examined in the perspective of national and organizational culture as well as the pressures on the company at that time. Mostly, participation is addressed as if organizational objectives will be achieved through mechanical obligation. To understand responsibilities of effective management, one requires studying scholarly work such as Skills of Management by Rees and Porter and interviewing several managers as explained in this report (Drucker & Maciariello 2008).

In summary, it can be inferred that authors’ main message fully matches with the needs of contemporary international and domestic business communities. To be more exact, while stressing the importance and ubiquitous applicability of the Managerial Escalator Model, the authors recognize the assertion that it must not be necessarily applied by every business unit since some individuals are innately capable of exercising functions of a manager (Herzberg 2003).

The Empirical Survey

This section of the report outlines how the model of the managerial escalator is reflected in practice. It must be emphasized that when the model was designed, practical implications of the model were based on the assumptions and case studies collected by the researchers. Empirical research was not conducted by them, and practical elements of the book were not substantiated sufficiently.

As a result of the need to ascertain whether the concept of the managerial escalator is indeed practically applicable, two individuals recently occupying productive posts and eventually promoted to the managerial position were interviewed. The first interviewed person was Jeremy McKenzie, a team leader and project manager of the Playfish Ltd., a London-based based IT software Development Company. Mr. McKenzie previously was among the top software developers of the company but after a careful consideration and review of professional capabilities conducted by executive committees of the mentioned software entity. The second interviewee is Madam Laura Christie, a Services Manager, in a local Health center in London.


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The choice of professionals was not random, and the industries were not chosen arbitrary. The medical industry and transnational software development giants are implicated in the diametrically opposite areas of international business and economy. Consequently, various and, most importantly, different in their nature business concepts, managerial approaches, and models are applied in reviewed business entities. The questions asked were chosen to verify the veracity of the postulates and principles of the Managerial Escalator Model on the practical level. The next section of the essay presents questions with regard to the applicability of the model and the answers given by the respondents (Morse 2003).

Jeremy McKenzie, Leading Project Manager with Playfish Ltd

Before this specialist was assigned to occupy the position of a project manager, he was mandated to get trained in the “boot camp” for the future managers, where he was taught the basics of managerial models and techniques of the IT business. As he later explained, the shift to the “boot camp” was needed due to the peculiarities of the managerial functions in IT business, which are not usually communicated to the ordinary software developers of the company.

The managing partner claimed that among the most problematic issues encountered by him was the necessity to mandate the actions of his former colleagues. In other words, his primary concern was closely connected with psychological aspects of the managerial post. The problem was the inability or unwillingness of the subordinates to comply with his instructions. He admitted that friendly relations with his former colleagues were spoilt after he received the promotion. He admitted that sometimes he lacked practical experience on how to give commands to subordinates in order to create proper image among them. The interviewed person particularly stressed the fact that before he joined the ranks of managers, communication-related problems were not encountered by him.

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In order to eradicate problems associated with the relationships between managers and subordinates, the most efficacious strategy seems to be the obligatory psychological preparation of managers, irrespective of the fact whether they can exercise managerial functions or not.

Mr. McKenzie claimed that when he was promoted to be a team leader and a project manager of the company, the most troublesome problem was the newly-experienced sense of responsibility. He said that with promotion his salary increased, but at the same time the responsibility for the work conducted by his subordinates was assumed by him. Although the interviewed person managed to complete all tasks assigned to him, no penalties were applied, and no projects were derailed, project managers informed about heavy stress-related symptoms and overwork. Several times he was even forced to seek medical assistance because of high blood pressure and other health concerns.

The most effective solution to handle these situations seems to be the implementation of programs aimed at stress eradication of the newly-appointed managers of the company. Irrespective of psychological stress and resistance capacities of newly-appointed managers, these stress-handling courses must necessarily be taught.

Laura Christie, Services manager at a local health center in London

Madam Laura Christie is the first interviewee. She is a forty-year-old lady, married with two children. Laura serves as a Services Manager, in a local health center in London. She has bachelors in Social Science, a diploma in clinical office and a certificate in business management. Additionally, she has completed health and safety course as well as computer application courses. She also studied conflict resolution and time management along with her major courses. Laura has been working with her current employer for the past ten years.

Laura is a full-time Services Manager. Her main responsibilities are similar to that of a manager. In this position, her main responsibilities include report preparation and budget allocation, strategic planning and coordination of services, working as part of the multi-disciplinary team and staff management to enhance the provision of service for their client group. Laura was employed in 1995 as the Project Coordinator. This position included some management responsibilities, but the Project Manager was the head of this department. Laura worked as the project coordinator for eight years until 2003 when she was promoted as a Services Coordinator. This position included some management responsibilities but Service Manager supervised the duties. In 2006, she was promoted to the Service Manager position where she took over complete management responsibilities. According to Laura Christie, management in an organization does not take place in a vacuum. Instead, it takes place in a particular set of situations – usually necessitating specialist knowledge. Therefore, it would be uncommon for a manager in the specialist situation to have had several years of specialist preparation but only a few days of management preparation.


Having reviewed theoretical background of the Managerial Escalator Theory, and the practice of newly-assigned managers, it can be concluded that, although some people indeed possess the skills, qualifications, and capabilities to exercise the functions of a manager, training has to be provided with regard to the problems connected with the increased sense of responsibility and stress. Another aspect is that specialists promoted to be managers often face communication problems with their former colleagues and their new subordinates. Management escalator is not a regression of responsibilities but a progression of duties, from a specialist to a managerial (Rees & Porter 2008). This takes place in a number of years, the specialist acquires managerial skills and at the same time mounting operational skills. The transition as the managerial responsibilities intensify, and specialist activities reduce, gives the employees a more immaculate expertise in their respective departments. Often, specialists acquire managerial responsibilities early in their profession. Those who aspire to become managers find their entry path through the specialist department. Subsequently, it is correct to see managers having the right managerial skills and specialist blend.


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