Difference between Interest Groups and Pressure Groups – Explained!

As such a group is an interest group when it is trying to secure the interests of its members and it is a pressure group when it is using pressure upon the government and society as a means for securing its interests. As such, there exists no organic difference between interest groups and pressure groups and these two terms can be interchangeably used as synonyms.

2. There is a Real Difference between the Two:

However, several other scholars advocate that there exist several subtle distinctions between interest groups and pressure groups which must be accepted and observed in the interest of clarity and precision.

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They advocate that any group which is organised by some people for promoting a common interest or interests is an interest group, e.g., A Mohalla Committee, or football club, a caste welfares organisation or a study forum or circle, etc.

As against this, a pressure group is such a group as has been organised by its members for the promotion of their interest or interests by influencing and pressurizing the government or its different agencies. Whenever any interest group starts influencing and pressurizing the formulation and administration of public policies of the government, it, becomes a pressure group.

The dividing line between an Interest Group and a Pressure Group is that of methods-the former depends upon mutual efforts and cooperation for securing the interests and the latter upon pressure techniques for influencing a desired, useful and favourable change in public policies of the government.

Every interest group in not a pressure group, but the latter is always an interest group because its basis is the shared in interest of its members.

From the above discussion, it follows that an interest group, without any change can, at any time start behaving as a pressure group and conversely a pressure group, when it ceases to put pressure on the government can work as an interest group.

In politics, interest groups and pressure groups both play an important role as agencies of interest articulation, interest aggregation political communications, political socialisation and public opinion. The difference between them is that of degree and not of kind. The two are very similar and hence their role can be analysed collectively.

For academic purposes we can state that there is a subtle difference between the two. An interest group is an association of people having a mutual or common concern and a pressure group is that interest group which seeks governmental aid for accomplishing the desired goals and for this uses pressure techniques. Both are organised by the people with common interests whom are to be protected and achieved.

Both are always involved in the process of securing the interests for which they stand organised. Both are involved in the process of interest articulation. The only difference between them is that the Interest Groups depend upon the use of mutual cooperation among members for securing their interests while the pressure groups use pressure tactics for favourably influencing the formulation and administration of public policy.

In other words, Interest Groups use persuasive methods and Pressure Groups use pressure techniques. The Interest Groups and Pressure Groups continuously influence the process of exercise of power in society. These are not directly involved in Polities but always remain active behind the political parties.

These are subject to the exercise of power by the state and are affected by public policies, decisions and administration. Political Sociology seeks to study the role of interest groups in the exercise of power in society as well as interactions between these and the state.