Date of Conferral







William G. Shriner


Cliques are a naturally occurring phenomenon and have been demonstrated to have adverse outcomes. Workplace cliques can lead to negative behaviors that affect organizational effectiveness. Although the effects of cliques have been studied extensively, a deeper understanding is needed by managers of the experiences of employees identifying as belonging outside of workplace cliques. The research question of this transcendental phenomenological study focused on the lived experiences of employees identifying as belonging outside of workplace cliques formed within their organization’s culture. Using convenience sampling, 15 people who identified as having worked in a situation where there was a clique agreed to participate. The conceptual framework was comprised of the concepts of motivation, creativity, knowledge sharing, and organizational commitment. Data were collected via face-to-face video interviews and then analyzed using Moustakas’s modified van Kaam method for key themes. Findings showed that participating employees who were not in the clique felt excluded and not valued. The participants felt they were given fewer opportunities and less access to information, and many felt it affected their creativity and motivation. An unanticipated finding was that human resources was generally viewed negatively by the participants and could not be trusted to help manage the clique. The findings have implications for positive social change by helping organizational leaders to understand consequences of workplace cliques, including the negative effects on employee creativity and motivation. Improving human resources’ role in employee satisfaction and engagement may increase employee creativity and motivation and lessen employee turnover.