Unit Review Themes and Concepts to Remember: Types of Interest groups Lobbying Success factors of an Interest group Targets of Interest groups Globalization Pressure GroupsA Pressure group is a group that seeks to influence government policy without contesting elections. Its characteristics include: seeking to bring political change, network with other groups, vital participants in policy, provide services, and consist of an internal organization with a democratic structure. Pressure groups are also synonymous with interest groups and advocacy groups.Categorization of Interest Groups Before identifying the types of interest groups, it is perhaps important to place these groups into different categories. The following diagram illustrates the different categories of interest groups. Customary groups = These groups are not created for specific purposes but simply part of the social fabric. They have no formal organization and examples of this group include tribes, caste of ethnic groups.
Institutional groups = These are larger groups with a more formal role in society.For example, the military and churches fall under this category. Protective groups =These groups represent the material interests of their members, for example, a union or employers groups. Promotional groups = These groups are not particularly concerned with the personal material welfare of their members, but rather are concerned with broader quality of life issues such as eco groups and woman’s rights groups. Types of Interest Groups Business – This group is the most powerful of all the interest groups and consists of more than 600 different groups.They usually advocate for grants, subsidies, tariffs, tax write-offs, loan guarantees, and policy changes. Examples: Canadian Council of Chief Executives Labor –is a powerful force in Canada, approx one out of every three paid workers outside agriculture is a member of labour union. Labor based interest groups main interest lies in issues such as minimum wage laws, labour protection laws, pension laws, and policy changes.
Example, Canadian Labor Congress. Environmental – Environmental interest groups mandate consist of policy changes to protect land, water, wildlife; educate.For example, Green Peace, Canadian Wildlife Association Ethnic Groups: These groups are less political and usually lobby for the protection and promotion of culture; language concessions; education and assistance in time of crisis. Examples, Assembly of First Nations, Italian Canadian Club, Religious Groups are organized groups that usually lobby for certain social laws; protection of their own rights and to debate the separation and link between Church and State. For examples, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Professions – This group is very specific with their mandate, and deal with: member concerns, professional issues, and provide input to various policy processes. For example, the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Bar Association Institutionalized groups cater towards public interest, for example the John Howard Society, Canadian Council on Social Development. Issue Oriented-Pressure Groups – These groups arise from specific issues, for example, Stop Walmart Group in Guelph.
What makes a pressure group successful? There are various factors that make interest group more successful than others. Even though your textbook clearly explains these factors, few extra success reasons are added to provide a clearer picture of interest groups and their mandates. Resources – Resources is an important component that determines the success and failure of interest groups. All business and even non profit organizations require capital and financing in order to operate.Money in interest groups is used to maintain permanent staff (lawyers, economist, researchers etc). This is somewhat affordable, but the services of public relations firms, polling companies etc increase the cost of operation greatly.
The interest groups that represent the business groups tend to have more money than the rest. Interest groups for the most part are regulated by Bill C2 which limits their spending during elections. Number of members – The number of members is an important factors, as the arger the group, the more support they get both financially and emotionally.
Cohesiveness of group – this is based on the saying “United we stand, divided we fall”. In some instances, interest groups form coalition or come together to stand as a united front when dealing with certain common interest or issues. For example, the Metis and the Indian Association forming a coalition to stand against aboriginal policies. Information – Acquiring information in regards to certain issues and policies can be rather challenging for interest groups.In contrast, the interest groups also present data and alternative theories that can lead important political figures to rethink their position or proposals. Sympathy of government/Electoral Influence; – the ability to obtain the sympathy of the government and swing votes a certain way is also a beneficial factor.
Popularity of the cause in public – The pressure group will have a greater rate of success if the demands of the group and the government’s stated objectives and the public’s opinion all corresponded on the same level.Absence of opposition – A group will have more success and influence if there is a lack of organized opposition both from the government, other interest groups or the public. Organization – Before the 1960s, governments were smaller and the number of policies and programs were concentrated in the hands of a small group.
After the 1960s, the state interventionists widened to include more economic and social issues, so it became really important that we had these interest groups to monitor the ongoing process of the government.In order to deal with this increase in social and economic issues, groups had to be formed, but they had to be highly organized to keep up with the government’s agenda. In Canada, interest groups acquired more importance much later than the US, and it was more of defensive reaction than anything else. LobbyingLobbying can be categorized as any form of direct or indirect communication with government that is designed to influence public policy.The main thing about lobbying is that it is a democratic right, and although many interest groups lobby on their own, but the more affluent interest groups usually hire professional lobbyists to lobby on their behalf. Therefore, there are 2 main types of lobbyists: Tier 1 Lobbyist or consultant lobbyist are lobbyist that work for a client for a feeTier 2 Lobbyist or in house corporate lobbyist are lobbyist who usually work for a single organization and whose duties include lobbying on behalf of the organization.