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HBR Guide to Office Politics (HBR Guide Series) by Karen Dillon

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Chapter 8

The Clique

The Problem

There’s a group of “golden” people in your office. They get assigned to high-profile projects, receive lots of public praise for their work, and ascend the ranks faster than others. They’re a tight crowd: They have one another’s backs in meetings and socialize after work. You’ve never been tapped to be on their teams. You’re good at your job; you’re just not in the right circle.

Why It Happens

Office cliques form—and thrive—for lots of reasons. Sometimes, for instance, you’ll find bands of colleagues who have moved together from other companies, particularly in industries that are worlds unto themselves, such as media and technology. (And it makes sense: As leadership expert Herminia Ibarra points out, research ...

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