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here's the context: There are clear escalation paths, a clear management chain, and there is information being broadcast to them to help them do their jobs better and more efficiently.

  • The meaning is "a clear management chain". A task would be escalated when the person working on the task does not have sufficient permissions to proceed any further. – Ian MacDonald Mar 16 '15 at 13:08
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In the sentence that the OP provides, the phrase 'escalation paths' refers to chains of higher-ranked individuals that an employee can consult to resolve a problem that they don't have the power or resources to address themselves.

For example, a construction worker might encounter a buried archaeological site while digging a foundation. That worker doesn't have the authority to destroy such a site, so he or she escalates the problem to the next person in their 'escalation path', who is their foreman. The foreman also lacks the authority to resolve the problem, so they escalate it to the site manager. The escalation path may extend all the way up to the construction company executives who have the authority to contact the government agency responsible for handling archaeological sites, and only those executives can arrange for either a variance to the construction permit to destroy the site or delay the project to allow for the site to be inspected and cleared by archaeologists.

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