Education

Meaning And 11 Types Of Pressure Groups

A pressure group is an organized association of people seeking to influence government policies on specific issues to promote the interest of their members.

These are associations that seek to influence the decisions and policies of the government. They pursue specific and narrow interests. They aim to control the government.

A pressure group can also mean a body of individuals, which is voluntarily organized to influence government policy without officially entering elections contests. A pressure group is the same thing as an interest group. It is an independent association (formal or informal), which thrives best in democratic societies to provide or promote some specific objectives to protect its members against possible exploitation from outside bodies, including government or management.

In this article, we are going to discuss the functions and types of pressure groups.

Functions Of Pressure Groups

Pressure groups perform important roles and functions which include:

1. Influence Government Policy:

This is the principal aim of pressure groups. They ensure that government policies are not detrimental to the well-being of their members, strikes are usually a fallout of unfavorable government policies. The Nigerian Labour Congress has effectively used strikes to influence government policies.

2. Provides Communication Link Between Its Members And Government:

As an organized group, it is easy for the government to pass information to a large group using their leaders. Negotiations are easier between the government and such an organization.

3. Renders Information Services To Government:

Pressure groups assist members pass information to the government.

4. Educate Its Members:

Pressure groups organize lectures and seminars to educate their members on government policies.

5. Runs Welfare Scheme:

Pressure groups run welfare schemes for their members. This remains one of the key reasons why pressure groups continue to thrive.

Methods Employed By Pressure Groups

1. Lobby:

They lobby the government to have favourable legislation and policies.

2. Peaceful Demonstration:

Members can be organized to demonstrate against specific policies of the government media on their reason for embarking on a particular action.

3. Use Of Mass Propaganda:

They educate the public through the mass media on their reason for embarking on a particular action.

4. Sponsoring Candidates For Elections:

In some countries, labor floats their political party but where this is not done, they covertly sponsor candidates for election. They provide funds and muster support for the candidate.

5. Influence Elections:

Through the use of propaganda, they can influence the outcome of an election. They can even organize strikes to drive their points against a particular candidate.

6. Nationwide Strike:

Members can be called out on a general strike.

What Are The Types Of Pressure Groups?

There are numerous types of pressure groups in modern political societies.

And according to research done by Juliet Oforma, she picked out the 11 types of pressure groups, which we are going to discuss right now. Here are the 11 types of pressure groups:

1. Interest Groups

2. Cause Groups

3. Hybrid Groups

4. Labour Groups

5. Agricultural Groups

6. Professional Groups

7. Business Groups

8. Religious Or Evangelical Groups

9. Anomic Group

10. Ethnic Or Racial Groups

11. Social Cultural Groups

1. Interest Groups:

Exist primarily for the benefit of their members. Their main objective is to promote members’ interests, which may be regional, occupational, racial, religious, etc.

2. Cause Groups:

This is a type of pressure group that generally champion the interest and the rights of the underprivileged. The group seeks to promote some causes that are not of direct benefit to their members.

Examples of such groups include: The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), the Oxford Association for Farming Relief which gives food and clothing to the less privileged, and the National Democratic Coalition, Unlike interest groups, they demand more sacrifice from its members instead of providing direct benefits to them.

3. Hybrid Groups:

This type of group was originally established as an interest group, but later, began to promote a cause. Hybrid groups are mixtures of interest and cause groups. For example, the Nigerian Road Safety Society promotes the safety of its members as well as the prevention of accidents on the roads.

4. Labour Groups:

A labor group is an occupational interest group. It includes all types of trade unions. Labor groups have become in the modern industrial age one of the most powerful pressure groups simply because almost everyone belongs to the Union. Examples include the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the British Trade Union Congress, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), etc.

5. Agricultural Groups:

The various associations of farmers belong to this group. Agricultural groups are also involved in activities to pressure the government over specific agricultural policies, like the young farmers club and some farming cooperative societies.

6. Professional Groups:

These are specialized forms of interest groups whose pressure campaigns also serve the interest of non-members in the larger society. Examples are the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Computer Professionals Of Nigeria (CPN), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), etc.

7. Business Groups:

This includes: the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and the State Chambers of Commerce, the various manufacturer’s associations, etc.

8. Religious or Evangelical Groups:

Religious or Evangelical groups include various religious organizations like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), NIFES, Scripture Union, Nigerian Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS), Muslim Students Association of Nigeria, Catholic Women Organization (CWO), etc.

These groups provide the spiritual needs of their members. For the past decades, there has been a proliferation of churches and religious groups.

9. Anomic Group:

These are spontaneous, unorganized mob groups that are interested in the immediate achievement of goals. They use violence, arson, demonstration, strikes, etc. For example, students riot groups, riots against hike in the pump price of fuel, etc.

10. Ethnic or Racial Groups:

These types of pressure groups include: the different cultural groups which existed in Nigeria during the colonial and post-colonial eras. They promote ethnic or racial interests.

Examples include Ibo Union now Ohaneze ndi Igbo, Egbeoma Oduduwa, Afenifere, the Arewa Consultative Forum, Umuada Igbo Nigeria, etc.

11. Social Cultural Groups:

These include both the social and cultural groups pursuing the various social-cultural interests of their members.

Barriers Against The Success Of Pressure Groups In Pursuit Of Their Demands

1. Poor organization

2. Illiteracy

3. Weak leadership

4. Political instability

5. Lack of fund

6. The government in power

7. Corruption

Conclusion

Both political parties and pressure groups help to protect the interest of their members against other groups or institutions, including the government.

It is important to note that all types of pressure groups have limited political demands. And just like we stated at the beginning of this article, the aim of pressure groups is not to seek to control the government.

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