Does Your Workplace Have Cliques? If So, You Aren't Alone

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Does your workplace have cliques? If so, you certainly aren't alone.

According to a new survey released by CareerBuilder this week, more than 40 percent of workers say that their office has cliques.

According to a news release from CareerBuilder annoucing the results of the study:

While only one in ten workers (11 percent) said they felt intimidated by office cliques, 20 percent of workers said they’ve done something they’re really not interested in or didn’t want to do just to fit in with co-workers. Forty-six percent in this subgroup simply went to happy hours to fit in, but the reluctant, adaptive behavior doesn’t end there. Some other activities include:

· “Watched a certain TV show or movie to discuss at work the next day” – 21 percent

· “Made fun of someone else or pretended not to like them” – 19 percent

· “Pretended to like certain food” – 17 percent

· “Took smoke breaks” – 9 percent

Moreover, about 1 in 7 said they hide their political affiliation to fit in (15 percent), ten percent don’t reveal personal hobbies, and nine percent keep their religious affiliations and beliefs a secret.


Bosses and Office Cliques

“Thirteen percent of workers said the presence of office cliques has had a negative impact on their career progress,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “While it’s human nature to associate with peers who possess similar personality types and characteristics, cliques can be counterproductive in the workplace. We see more managers using team-building activities or assembling people from different groups to work on projects to help discourage behaviors that can alienate others.”

The survey found that not all managers succeed at staying neutral. Nearly half of those workers whose workplaces have cliques (46 percent) say their boss is a part of clique with some of his or her employees.


High School Personas and Office Cliques

According to the survey, workers who fit a specific persona in high school are also more likely to be in an office clique. Participants were asked to describe their high school selves as one of the following stereotypical archetypes: athlete, honor society, cheerleader, drama club, geek, class clown, student government, teacher’s pet, band/choir.

Former “class clowns,” “geeks,” and “athletes” were the most likely to say they currently belong to an office clique in their job today. Interestingly, participants who chose not to self-identify as fitting one of the above personas are the least likely to be a part of an office clique.

Additionally, 17 percent of those workers who consider themselves to be introverts are members of an office clique, compared to 27 percent of extroverts.