The organization of citizens within groups is a characteristic shared in Western industrial societies. These groups form as associations, ad-hoc citizen groups, protest movements and specialized elites, and they express a demand for participation, a claim which is frequently encouraged by the constitutional setting. Their goal is participating in and influencing the political process.
While interest groups play an important part in politics in all Western democracies, there is considerable variation in group strategies and tactics, and their achieved results.
The United States are considered the classic domain of interest groups, which have constituted a major political factor throughout history, particularly since the period of the New Deal. In Germany, interest groups are rooted in a profoundly different historic tradition. Nevertheless, they also play an important role in this pluralistic society.
As discussed in the sections about interest group history and the political systems in both countries, there are different frameworks in the United States and in Germany that interest groups operate in. This section serves to show how groups operate, particularly how they seek to influence legislature.
Introduction -- Defining Terms -- Types of Interest Groups -- Techniques -- Developments