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 a country’s governance process.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Pressure groups seek to influence public policy, legislation, or government decisions; interest groups represent the collective interests of their members.
  2. Pressure groups may use various tactics, including lobbying, public campaigns, and protests; interest groups focus on promoting their members’ views and concerns.
  3. Both pressure groups and interest groups aim to shape policy and decision-making. Still, pressure groups focus more on specific issues, while interest groups cover broader concerns.

Pressure Group vs Interest Group

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

Pressure group vs Interest group

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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 crowd.

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


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPressure GroupInterest Group
DefinitionA pressure group is a group of individuals who come together to promote and defend a common interest.Interest groups are voluntary organizations that promote and create advantages for their cause in public.
PurposeAny non-policy interest can be the purpose of a pressure group.Political 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 a group of individuals who come together to promote and defend a common interest.

The name ‘pressure group’ is so because of the efforts of the group to fetch changes in public policy by employing pressure on the government.

A pressure group’s functioning mode is entirely different from that of the political parties. They never attempt to capture political positions or try 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.

A pressure group usually uses campaigning, lobbying, and propaganda to obtain their purposes. The title ‘pressure group’ was developed in the USA.

A pressure group can be a crucial link between a government and the public. The primary role of a pressure group is to keep governments more attuned to the interests of the people, especially in the period between the elections.

Pressure groups are interest groups that work to protect their interests by exerting influence in the development and actualization of public policies.

The influences of a pressure group are primarily 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 legislative interests.
  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 to protect 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 Bharatiya Kisan Union, All India Kisan Sabha, etc.
  4. Religiously oriented groups like VHP, Jamaat-e-Islami, etc.
pressure group 1

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 interest groups.

Charitable organizations, corporations, neighbourhood organizations, civil rights groups, and trade associations are examples of interest groups.

A group of people with shared common concerns who attempt to influence the policies of governments regarding their problems are known by the name of interest groups.

Lobbying is the most common technique interest groups use to influence legislation and capture the attention of policymakers. Some of the main 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 try to attain policy changes according to their preferences. Consumer advocacy groups, environmental organizations, etc., are some of them.
  3. Government interest groups: – Their primary role is to gather federal grants for local and state governments. The National Conference of Mayors in the US is an example of a government interest group.
  4. Religious Interest Groups: – They work for the protection of spiritual interests. Viswa Hindu Parishath, Jamaat-e-Islami, etc., are examples of them.
  5. Civil Rights Interest Groups: – They work for favourable 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 include issues regarding taxes, foreign affairs, citizenship, etc.
  7. Single-issue interest groups are developed to raise a single issue to the attention of governments and policymakers.
interest group

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 that try to exert pressure on realizing their particular cause.
  3. Lobbying and advocacy are the tactics interest groups assume to attain their goals. Influencing the government for favourable policy changes is the norm of pressure groups.
  4. Pressure groups do not have any blanket regulations, whereas interest groups work under strict rules.
  5. Pressure groups use pressure tactics to attain their goals, but interest groups usually use persuasive and influential tactics.
Difference Between Pressure Group and Interest Group
  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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