Whenever people gather in groups, their behavior is substantially determined by the interests they pursue. Interests are not the only cause for human behavior; other factors, such as tradition and individual personality also influence action. Interests can be distinguished from other motivational factors in terms of their goal-orientation.
Hence, the term interest is defined by its characteristic of expressing demands and aiming at the pursuit of specific goals. This work deals with the effects of organized group interests, which specifies the amalgamation of individual interests in groups with the purpose of expressing shared interests and representing them with increased effectiveness against other groups.
The scientific discourse about the topic of political groups lead to broad terminology in this field. In literature, a variety of terms such as 'lobbying groups', 'pressure groups', 'attitude groups', and 'interest organizations' can be found. The term 'interest group' is the most appropriate one, as other terms constrict the scope of meaning. 'Pressure group', for example, has a negative connotation and narrows the notion down to particular methods of political influence. 'Lobbying' emphasizes the attempt to influence the legislative branch of government.
The term 'interest group' describes the nature of association this work is concerned with. According to Truman, interest groups can be defined as groups that, based on one or more shared attitudes, engage in influencing political decision-making, in order to successfully implement certain political goals or values (Truman, 33). They usually, but not always, are formally organized. The relation between interest groups and government and society is an affirmative one, although groups may at times employ destructive methods in order to accomplish their goals. The existing social order is accepted by interest groups, and governmental power and its institutions are utilized to attain advantages, protect members, and to fight political opponents.
Interest groups can be distinguished from political parties in terms of their role in the political process. Interest groups on principle do not seek direct political participation and responsibility, but they rather attempt to influence the political process indirectly. This feature separates interest groups from political parties. While parties, operating on a platform of broad sets of issues, seek to win control of government in order to formally operate governmental institutions, interest groups focus on influencing public policy on a single issue or a narrow range of issues.
Introduction -- Defining Terms -- Types of Interest Groups -- Techniques -- Developments