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The Truth About Workplace Cliques

So we grow up and graduate from high school and leave all the childish wanting to fit in behind…right?  Well, that may not be totally true. It seems a new study found that a lot of American workers feel there are still cliques at work that can affect their work lives in a negative way.

According to the survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of, 43 percent of U.S. workers say their office or workplace is populated by cliques.

Thirteen percent of workers surveyed said the presence of office cliques has had a negative impact on their career progress.

Forty-six percent of employees whose workplaces have cliques say their boss is part of a clique with some of his or her workers.

While just 11 percent of workers admitted they felt intimidated by office cliques, 20 percent of those surveyed said they’ve done something they weren’t really interested in doing just to fit in with co-workers.

Of those who admitted doing something they weren’t really interested in doing, 46 percent said they went to happy hours just to fit in.  Other actions taken by those who felt the need to fit in:

  • Watched a certain TV show or movie to discuss it at work the next day, 21 percent.
  • Made fun of someone else or pretended not to like them, 19 percent.
  • Hid their political affiliation, 15 percent.
  • Didn’t reveal personal hobbies, 10 percent.
  • Kept religious affiliations and beliefs a secret, 9 percent.
  • Pretended to like certain food, 9 percent.
  • Took smoke breaks, 9 percent.

The survey also asked respondents to describe their high school selves as one of the following stereotypical archetypes: athlete, honor society, cheerleader, drama club, geek, class clown, band/choir, student government, teacher’s pet.

Those who identified themselves as former class clowns, geeks and athletes were the most likely to say they belong to an office clique today.

The Harris Interactive on behalf of was conducted online between May 14 and June 5,2013, and involved 2,999 workers.


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