Monday, 18 July 2011

Strategies of Pressure Groups

Pressure Groups are also known as interest groups or advocacy groups. Pressure Groups are groups or organizations which share the same goals, concerns and interests and try to influence the government policy and public opinion by various forms of advocacy in order to achieve their goals and objectives. They do not hold any position in the government. There are mainly four categories of Pressure Groups: (i) Anomic Groups, (ii) Associational Groups, (iii) Non-Associational Groups and (iv) Institutional Groups.
There are several tactics used by Pressure Groups to influence the government and public in order to achieve their objectives. Four strategies used by Pressure Groups are as follow:
(i)            Lobbying. The attempt of Pressure Groups trying to influence members of the Legislature and government to support their ideas on an issue or to support their stage and position. The lobbyists hire the experts and professionals and control specialized information on a particular issue to influence the government policy making. They may make direct contact to the government officials, or trying to promote their position or trying to persuade and convincing the government officials by expressing the objective of their groups and providing details or specific information regarding a particular issue. The lobbyist mostly would consider influencing the Legislature on policy making or amending law of the state. The lobbyist may also use the court system to achieve their goals and at the same time, the proceedings of the courts may give publicity to the Pressure Groups which will help them to widespread their objectives to the public.
(ii)          Mass Campaign. This strategy has been used by Pressure Groups of all ages. The Pressure Groups use the coverage of the mass media as a medium and passage to channel their principle and points of view on particular issue. This tactic will also help the Pressure Groups to communicate with the public to attain public supports and influencing public views on an issue. By influencing the public, indirectly, it will also influence the government administrating systems and policy making. The medium used are normally the electronic devices and printing media such as television, radio and newspaper. In modern days, the Pressure Groups channel their influence via the internet, web journals and social networks. For example, biologists and scientists have run television shows and published magazines to channel the information of the endanger sea species and the suggestions for the local government to take actions to encounter with the problems they may face.
(iii)         Public Protests. Pressure Groups may also show their objections and opposition on certain government polices and in turn to force the government to change to policy, Pressure Groups have often make public protest. Public Protest may be violent or some may not. Protests could be done by words or by actions. Individual statements, mass demonstrations, rallies, boycotts, marches and etc are some examples of the public protests. Example of public protest is the Bersih 2.0 rally. Bersih 2.0 rally was a demonstration in Malaysia held on 9 July 2011, organized by BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) and supported by the opposition party, the Pakatan Rakyat in order to push the Election Commission of Malaysia to ensure fair and free elections in Malaysia.
(iv)         Litigation. It means the process of bringing or contesting legal actions in court. The Pressure Groups turn to use the court system to gain legal support or to change the interpretation of certain law in the country. The Pressure Groups also use the courts to challenge the government of the policy and government decisions via amicus brief. Some groups even offered legal assistance to help individuals to contest against the government. Litigation process not only helps the Pressure Groups in advertising their public image and channels their views and position, in most cases, this process also successfully influenced the government in making decisions and amending policies.


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