Difference Between Pressure Group and Interest Group

The progress of a country and the transformation of its ideologies and policies cannot be attained by governments alone. Many influential groups are indirectly involved in the process of governance within a country.

Pressure Group vs Interest Group

The main difference between the Pressure group and Interest Group is, pressure groups do not require specific regulations to function but interest groups work under formal regulations.

Pressure Group vs Interest Group

Interest groups work for the promotion and development of their causes in public. Pressure groups are part of interest groups that promote and defend a common interest in the public.

Interest groups work as formal organizations whereas pressure groups are working on the strength of their cause, not based on the organizational structure.


Comparison Table Between Pressure Group and Interest Group (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonPressure GroupInterest Group
DefinitionThe pressure group is a group of individuals who come together for the promotion and defense of a common interest.Interest groups are voluntary organizations that promote and create advantages for their cause in public.
PurposeAny type of non-policy interest can be the purpose of a pressure group.Political interests or policy interests may consist of the purpose of an interest group.
OrganizationNo specification for the organization level. It can be at any level.A formal organization is mandatory.
TacticsPressure tactics are used to obtain their goals.Generally, use only persuasive and influential tactics.
RegulationPressure groups are only a no blanket regulationInterest groups work under strict regulations


What is Pressure Group?

A pressure group is defined as a group of individuals who come together for the promotion and defense of a common interest. The name ‘pressure group’ is so because of the efforts of the group to fetch changes in the public policy by employing pressure on the government.

The mode of functioning of a pressure group is entirely different than that of the political parties. They never attempt to capture political positions or attempt to contest in elections. The interest of a pressure group is nothing but the promotion and protection of the welfare of its members by persuading the government.

The techniques usually resorted by a pressure group to obtain their purposes are electioneering, lobbying as well as propagandizing. The title ‘pressure group’ developed from the USA.

A pressure group can work as a crucial link between a government and the public. The major role of a pressure group is to keep governments more attuned to the interests of the public, especially in the period between the elections. Pressure groups are interest groups that work to protect their interests by exerting influences in the development and actualization of public policies.

The influences of a pressure group are mostly indirect and not visible externally but they are vital as far as the administrative system is concerned. Pressure groups can influence the following areas.

  1. Legislature: – To introduce a person adhering to their interests in the legislature.
  2. Executive: – To influence the implementation of policies by attempting to get access to high executive posts with persons of their preference.
  3. Bureaucracy: – Pressure groups try to appease bureaucrats for protecting their interests.
  4. Judiciary: – Pressure groups play vital roles in the appointment of high judicial personnel for appointing judges on political matters.

In India, major pressure groups include:

  1. Institutional/business groups such as CII, FICCI, AIMO, FAIFDA etc.
  2. Trade unions such as INTUC, AITUC, HMS, BMS, etc.
  3. Agrarian groups such as Baharatiya Kisan Union, All India Kisan Sabha, etc.
  4. Religiously oriented groups like VHP, Jamaat-e-Islami, etc.

What is Interest Group?

The title ‘interest group’ applies to all kinds of voluntary organizations that promote and create advantages for their cause in public. Numerous organizations in every country can be called as interest groups.

Charitable organizations, corporations, neighborhood organizations, civil rights groups, and trade associations are examples of interest groups. A group of people with shared common concerns and make attempts to influences the policies of governments regarding their concerns are known by the name interest groups.

Lobbying is the most common technique used by interest groups to influence legislation and capture the attention of the policymakers. Some of the prominent categories of interest groups are listed below.

  1. Economic interest groups: – They consist of the group of large-scale manufacturers, trade associations, groups of professionals from various streams, etc.
  2. Public interest groups: – They are the groups trying to attain policy changes according to their preferences. Consumer advocacy groups, environmental organizations, etc. are some of them.
  3. Government interest groups: – Their major role is to gather federal grants for local and state governments. The National Conference of Mayors in the US is an example for government interest groups.
  4. Religious Interest Groups: – They work for the protection of religious interests. Viswa Hindu Parishath, Jamaat-e-Islami, etc. are examples for them.
  5. Civil Rights Interest Groups: – They work for favorable policy creation regarding civil rights, social welfare, gender issues, etc.
  6. Ideological Interest Groups: – They try to exert power in the areas they prefer to protect or transform. It may consist of issues regarding taxes, foreign affairs, citizenship, and so on.
  7. Single issue interest groups: – They are developed to raise a single issue to the attention of the governments and policymakers.

Main Differences Between Pressure Group and Interest Group

  1. The main difference between Pressure Group and Interest Group is pressure groups has more focus on the cause whereas interest groups are more into structure and organization.
  2. Pressure groups are part of interest groups who try to exert pressure on realizing their special cause.
  3. Lobbying and advocacy are the tactics assumed by interest groups to attain their goals. Influencing the government for favorable policy changes is the norm of pressure groups.
  4. Pressure groups do not have any blanket regulation whereas interest groups work under strict regulations.
  5. Pressure tactics are used by pressure groups to attain their goals but interest groups usually use persuasive and influential tactics.



Political parties and the governments formed by them alone could not focus on all the relevant areas of the country or state to ensure the welfare of all sectors.  Interest groups and pressure groups are beneficial in this regard.

They can capture the attention of the government and policymakers towards a common issue and seek remedies for it even by implementing new policies or laws. Welfare state can be ensured if all of these groups truly work for the welfare of the country and protect its diversity and cultural richness.


  1. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/2130130
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800904004495
  3. https://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/29633
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