Cliques in the Workplace: High School Part 2?

If you think that tossing your mortarboard on some June afternoon frees you forever from the horrors of high school social dynamics, think again. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, 43% of workers believe that there are cliques present in their office. While you aren’t likely to catch many adult goths or cheerleaders in your local office complex, the principle is still very much the same: ingroups and outgroups. Not being “in” can be meddlesome to the worker that just wants to, well, work without any of the distracting social pressures.In fact, the survey said that those outside of the cliques in their office will often modify their own behavior to fit in, 19% reporting to have made fun of or pretended not to like someone at their workplace. What’s worse is that 21% report to watching a particular movie or TV show to talk about it at work the next day. Talk about bringing your work home with you.

Grouping is a part of life, but any manager who notices such a trend in their own office should take steps to counteract it. These could be such simple measures as addressing the presence of the clique (or cliques) in front of everyone or to do a little desk-rearrangement to split them apart. You know, the same kind of thing teachers do with disruptive students. Team bonding is one thing, but cliques are, by their very nature, counterproductive. To read the survey summary from Career Builder, click the link below.

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