Comparison of Pressure Groups and Political Parties Differences.
A pressure group refers to any interest group that has members with common interests and these members making joint efforts to pressurise the formal political system to pursue their interests. They seek to exert influence government from outside, rather than becoming a part of it.
They do not make policy decisions, but rather try to influence those who happen to be the policy-makers.
Thus, pressure groups are essentially external to the government and sometimes known as the informal face of t politics.
The members of a pressure group are united by either a shared belief in a particular cause or a common set of interests. People with different ideological and party preferences may thus work happily together as members of the same pressure group.
Comparison of Pressure Groups and Political Parties Differences
While the Pressure groups seek to exert influence, political parties seek to win power.
The members of a pressure group have shared interests and common causes. They may have different ideologies and party preferences despite being members of the same group.
The political parties are associations of individuals sharing common values and preferences. Pressure groups are formed to solve their immediate problems.
Political parties are formed on ideological lines and they continuously engage in the mobilisation of the masses with the aim to capture the power and consolidate their position to attain or realise their ideological goals. While the pressure groups have narrow issue focus, most political parties have broad issue focus as well as a vision for the future.
Pressure groups are relatively temporary than political parties.
Pressure groups remain confined to a select group of people, unlike political parties which engage in mass mobilization.
Both the pressure groups and political parties are the main media through which the public’s views and interests are channelled to the government.
Both of them carry out the representation, facilitate political participation and contribute to the policy process. In some circumstances, the political parties may act as a pressure group.
Types of Pressure Group
Although the pressure groups can be distinguished in a variety of ways (including local/national/transnational groups and temporary/ permanent groups), the most common distinctions are as follows:
Interest and cause groups
Insider and outsider groups
Interest and cause groups
The interest groups, also known as ‘sectional’, ‘protective’ or ‘functional groups’ are those groups which represent a particular section of the society such as workers, employers, consumers, ethnic or religious groups etc.
The interest groups are primarily concerned to protect or advance the interests of their members. The membership is limited to people in a particular occupation, career or economic position. All the members are motivated by material self-interest.
The examples of such interest groups are trade unions, business corporations, trade associations, professional bodies etc. Since they represent a particular section of the society, they are called sectional groups.
Specific examples are FICCI, ASSOCHAM and India’s all-powerful IT trade association NASSCOM.
Cause groups also are known as ‘promotional’, ‘attitude’ or ‘issue’ groups. Cause groups are based on shared attitudes or values rather than the common interests of its members. They seek to advance specific cause or causes ranging from charity activities, poverty reduction, education and environment, human rights, peace etc.
Thus, the cause groups seek to advance particular ideals or principles. The members may be from different sections or with different interests. The members of the cause groups are motivated by moral or altruistic concerns. Specific examples of such groups include the WWF, Amnesty International etc.
Some pressure groups may be having the features of both interest and cause groups. For example, Association for India’s Development (AID) promotes sustainable, equitable and just development by supporting grassroots organizations in India.
At the same time, it also has campaigned for some specific interests such as free Binayak Sen campaign etc.