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Resistance Cliques

Inside teams as well as across teams, cliques form in organisations. One of the reasons for this kind of informal union is the shared resistance against (organisational) interests, which cannot be tackled elsewhere.

Such cliques can act on the factual level by jointly questioning the authorities or incorporating mistakes into the work process, i.e. continuing to work on ‘forbidden’ or non-permitted products (so-called U-boats!). However, this carries risks of exposure and easily generates conflicts with the hierarchy.

Therefore, the more significant function is usually the experiencing of like-mindedness. In conversations between people, who find the same things impossible, one can quickly feel at home, one can let go without danger and in this way, one can relieve tension. Through this, such social formations carry value in organisations by contributing to preserving team members’ motivation.

In the temporal dimension, resistance cliques maintain (important) discarded decision-making alternatives in the organisation, so that these, when needed, can be quickly made available again. This function, too, can be very important.

In summary it becomes clear, that the benefits and disadvantages of such cliques balance each other out. For this reason, one can categorise the conceived goal of a harmonious organisation, which manages without formal or informal resistance, even if it is achievable, as questionable.