A pressure group is a group that consists of like-minded people who work together to influence or to persuade a government or people in authority to change something or to do something.
People who are part of it pressurize or influence people in power like the government to serve their interests. They are so powerful these days that they are also referred to as “unofficial government.”
They play an important role in the decision making of government, and no government takes important actions without considering their opinion.
People who form such groups are the people with strong opinions and beliefs based on religion, political philosophy, ethnicity, or a common goal.
The people represent the people who are dissatisfied with the work of official authority in a particular area of work. People working in these groups make sure that the voice of people who are not among the mainstream population heard by the people in the higher authority.
People working in these groups have no interest in making their government. They refer themselves as social workers. Rather than gaining power, they pressurized the people in power to make policies and take actions as they want or which is good for society.
Pressure groups choose one social conflict, which is causing problems to common people and work for it and until the government takes certain actions as they want or change the existing policies or make policies fulfill their demands.
Types of Pressure Group
In the past few decades, the number of and the types of these groups have increased incredibly, and each type work towards a particular goal or belief. They can also be differentiated based on their structure.
In this section, you will learn about the different types of pressure groups all around the world.
#1. Sectional Pressure:
They work for the benefit of certain people or their economic benefits or to preserve the rights of people. This type is called sectional pressure groups because they work for a particular section of people.
Even though by reading you may perceive the people are selfish or bad, but no one can deny the fact that the work of these groups has helped in protecting the rights of working people. The followings are the examples:
- National Union of Journalists
- National Union of Teachers
- Confederations of British Industry
- IWW – The Union for All Workers
- BMA – British Medical Association
#2. Promotional Pressure:
Promotional pressure groups are different from sectional ones as they don’t work or act for economic or self-purposes. They consist of people who are concerned about a social cause. The work is done for the earth, environment, mankind, animals, and various social causes, etc.
Every country has hundreds of these groups working for various social causes. The followings are examples of famous groups around the world.
- Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
- The RSPCA
- Friends of the Earth
- World Wildlife Funds
#3. Insider and Outsider Pressure Groups:
Insider pressure groups are the ones that have a connection inside the government office. The government consults about various projects like social projects. They establish a bridge between the government and the population of a country.
They represent the views of a large population of the country in front of the government and make them take decisions that are in favor of the population. Insider pressure groups can be of three types, such as low profile, high profile, and ultra-insider ones.
Usually, when a group is created, it is a low profile. However, as they become old, and it establishes a connection with the people working inside the government, it gains power and turns into a high profile or ultra insider groups, they are the most powerful ones.
And on the other hand, the outsiders don’t have a connection with the government.
Outsider pressure groups don’t work with the government and provide their opinion on decision making. However, they opt for other methods such as strategies, petition, and civil disobedience, etc. to make the government to get agreed with them.
There are also three types of outsiders groups such as Outsider’s group by necessity, potential insider’s group, and ideological Outsider Groups.
Local pressure groups are created by people who are concerned with local matters. The people who run these are the people who are affected by a particular action taken by the government.
For example, if the government tries to destroy a community club of a small town or prevention of the destruction of public property, etc. they are also referred to as temporary groups because they are formed and come in action for a particular social cause.
The existence of a local group also ends when their conditions and demands are met.
#5. Transnational Pressure:
These are the opposite of local pressure groups. They work across various countries under the same name and for various social causes all around the world.
A few examples are Greenpeace, Oxfam, Amnesty International. Britain in Europe, etc.
Features of Pressure Group or Characteristics of Pressure Groups
#1. A common Objective:
The pressure groups can’t exist without an objective. A common objective is important as the members come together because they all have the same beliefs.
Take the example of the Green Peace. They are active in more than 40 countries.
What do you think created this huge community? It is a common objective to save the earth and to make it a green and healthier plant that makes people all around the world to be a part of one community.
Similarly, there are other pressure groups that have other objectives and work to attain those objectives. Therefore, we can say that a common objective is essential for their existence.
#2. Group of People:
Pressure Groups start with a one-person and turns into a big community. Therefore, we can say that people are also another important feature.
The more the people stronger will be the group. A group of 100 people have more strength and can force authorities to decide as per their will than the group of 5 people.
Therefore, we can imply that more people more will be their strength. Because of this reason, they advertise their objectives and goal with intensity by running forms, websites, online communities, and campaigns to inspire people to increase their community.
#3. Work Technique:
Work technique is another important feature as they have a different work technique to achieve their objectives.
Some of them have links in the government and take advantage of their links to make the government take decisions as they want whereas others don’t have any connection in the government use methods like lobbying, strike, etc.
Let us learn about the different work techniques opted by the people to achieve their goals.
The strike is one of the most common methods used by pressure groups to get the attention of the government or higher authority towards a matter. A strike is when people stop doing their routine jobs until their demands are met.
This type of method is frequently used by workers in a factory, doctors in hospitals, government employees, or even students use this method to grab the attention of the higher authority. It is a harmless method where inconvenience is created by the stoppage of work.
This method displays the unity and solidarity of the members and their determination to achieve their goals. This technique of pressuring the government or people in higher authority is quite effective a people don’t resume their work until their demands are met.
Lobbying is a work technique that is used which has connections in the government. In this method, they try to influence the individual members of the government whose decisions play an important role in the final decision-making.
This work technique got its name from “the lobby” outside the offices. During office, people work in their offices, but they spend a lot of time together unofficially. Those times are used by members to influence the members of the government.
In this method, people from such groups meet ministers and civil servants and present the information related to the interests, cases, memoranda, and cases, etc. lobbying is an effective technique as it most of the times get fruitful results. Using this work technique, pressure groups even get success to influence the judiciary decisions.
This work technique involves boycott elections by the members of the pressure groups. This uses this method to pressure government at the election times, and they also influence other people to do the same in order to achieve their objectives.
Their purpose for electioneering is to influence parties to choose candidates of their choice. In this way, they can secure their interest indirectly.
#7. Mass Media:
In the 21st century, this is a new technique in order to secure their interests. These groups take the help of mass media to influence the general public and to grab their attention.
They publish articles in newspapers and post social media posts to ask people to support their cause, and they also collect funding through this means. In addition to this, they make the use of the internet and social media to communicate about upcoming events and encourage people to participate in those events.
Through this technique, they acquire the sympathy and support of people and use that support to make the government their desired changes in the policies.
Pressure groups are independent, and they don’t get any financial support from government authorities to run. These people make their day-to-day basis errands using the funds collected from the public.
To collect funds, they run online programs and ask the members to contribute financial help for the cause. Larger the group larger will be the funding.
Functions of the Pressure Group
#1. Provide support to the minority:
The government usually comes to know about the issues that are presented by the cream class of society. This is because these people have a connection in the government, and they have a platform to make their voices heard.
But on the other hand, there is a part of the population that has even worst problems, but they don’t have any connection in the government or platform where they can reach the government and let the government know about their problems.
Pressure groups work to help this part of the population. They provide a platform to theses people and make the government hear their issues and provide help to them.
#2. Creating a connection between government and common public:
Common people usually don’t have a direct connection with the government, and people in government don’t pay attention to the problems of people when they approach them individually. Pressure groups establish a connection between the common public and the government in power.
They convey the views of people, the problem faced by them, and the interests of people to government and make them take decisions that are in favor of the public.
#3. Force government to participate in social causes:
The government usually don’t pay much attention to social causes as they don’t understand the situation.
In such a scenario, a pressure group plays an important role, and through their work techniques, they pressurize the government to participate actively to deal with the issues.
#4. Remove Dictatorship:
The meaning of dictatorship is when one person or an association of people dominate the entire population. Pressure groups ensure that there is no dictatorship in the government, and decisions are taken, which are favored by the majority of people.
They invoice what the majority of people want and use their work techniques to make the voice of common people audible and make the government take decisions and create policies that are in favor of the entire population.
In this way, they keep in check the dictatorship and promote democracy.
#5. Collects facts and information:
The government doesn’t work on emotions and arguments. They require information and fact in order to act as the people of these groups want.
Therefore, people work relentlessly to collect information and facts about the causes they are working for and present it to the government in order to influence their decisions not by merely creating pressure on them but by providing them factual information.
Examples of Pressure Group
Greenpeace is an example of a transnational pressure group. This organization was founded in 1971. It was formed by a small association of people. The goal of this organization is to save the natural world from the destruction, and they aim to create a world that is more green, peaceful, and healthy.
This organization is an independent organization and collect funds from ordinary people. It doesn’t accept funding from government or official authorities. Their method of doing their work is very peaceful.
They don’t try to expose organizations for their destructive work; rather, they put pressure on the organization by mobilizing the members of the general public, consumers pressure, and lobbying, etc. This organization works in more than 40 countries.
Green peace is working hard to protect the earth from the destruction, and it is growing at a rapid rate.
#2. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND):
This organization campaign for the disarmament for nuclear and other harmful weapons by the countries. This organization works non-violently and seeks to create a better and secure place for future generations. The campaign for nuclear disarmament was created in November 1957.
They propose that governments should stop investing and creating nuclear and other harmful weapons and should take other ways to create security.
This organization gets its funds from the public, and they encourage people all around the world to participate in their campaign to make the world a secure place.
#3. Amnesty International:
The Amnesty international organization started in 1961 in London merely by publishing an article in the observer newspaper. Since then, this organization is working relentlessly to protect human rights all around the world.
It is a community of more than 7 million people who supports the same idea that everyone has a right to enjoy basic human rights. Like the above two organizations, this organization also collect their funding through common people and don’t take and a donation from government bodies and other powerful bodies.
#4. Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI):
Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is the largest and oldest business organization of India. It was established in 1927. This organization has contributed a lot to the independence and the industrialized of the country.
This organization is the best example of a national pressure group. This organization provides helps to various private and public companies of India and also provides the platform to network within and outside the country.
In addition to this, this organization plays an important role in policymaking and civil society.
#5. All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC):
Trade Unions are part of every country. Trade Union is a group that represents that issues and demands of worker and labors and help them to resolve their issues. All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) is a trade union that represents the issues and problems faced by workers in India.
It is an independent group that does not associate with any political party and has been serving the people of the labor class since 1920. It is one of the largest in India, with more than 2 million members all around India.