Q.No.1: Discuss the role of pressure groups in Pakistan. In your opinion which pressure group has proved to be more effective in Pakistan and how it has been effective?
Ans: . Interest and Pressure Groups
Interest or pressure groups are kinds of organizations which are loosely formed for certain
purposes. In general, they are formally organized for some common concerns in order to attempt to a_ect public policy in their favor . Matthews indicated that these groups are organized ones
which aim to influence public policy. On the other hand, Zeigler claimed that these groups are
formed to fulfill a need in the society which is not met by the established institutions . Their main interest is to translate social power into political power which is equated to legislative action. Similarly,Anderson defines these groups as organizations that strive to influence the actions of government . As they are of political and scholarly relevance because of their influence in politics ,
the communities in these groups have also been composed of business leaders, religious leaders,
teachers, administrators, parents and other activists .
. The Types of Interest or Pressure Groups and Motivation Behind Them
These groups are kinds of social gatherings that have purpose for mutual support of their
members. They may be grouped regarding to their aims:
(i) economic groups which are individual firms and business organizations;
(ii) professional groups like trade unions;
(iii) identity groups which include religious communities;
(iv) public interest groups that are composed of human rights, environmental and other groups .
Mawhinney expressed that the composition of these groups may change according to time,
issue and political conjuncture. Therefore, Gray and Lowery expressed that the population of these
groups may be fluid. For example, while members of groups at universities, hospitals and schools can be active in their engagement in lobbying, membership-type organizations may end their existence as soon as their lobbying efforts drop. It is considered that if lobbying is well-organized, it is a muchmore effective instrument than any others. Here, lobbying was described by the OECD as the pursuing strong motives to affect government policy and legislative decision-making
The Influence of Interest and Pressure Groups
These groups are e_ective regarding government policy or legislation and there are several reasons as to why these groups are e_ective. One of the reasons is that they have a status. They can have policy success when the party they supported gains a success in elections . Another reason is the electoral power which they command . According to Maddox , another measure of their influence is their organizational, structural and financial situations. In this regard, a well-organized and financially strong group can appeal more e_ectively than any other disadvantaged group which lacks money, expertise and coherence. Their influence is determined if the group can use their social power or their ability while passing or keeping others from passing a legislation . The influence of these groups can be observed as the result of an exchange of resources between interest groups and gatekeepers in politically relevant arenas. At the most basic level, groups supply decision-makers with relevant resources and in return gain influence .
Malen mentions that although judgements about the relative power of interest groups vary,
there is reason to believe interest groups, at all levels of the system, are important. For instance,
Cibulka states that the politics of education in most countries has changed in recent decades
with the influence of these groups. Regarding the Turkish society, these groups are characterized
by the existence of many tens or hundreds of legal and illegal groups which are independent of
government and attract people with shared interests and activities with the aim of influencing the
1.4. The Tactics Used by Interest or Pressure Groups
According to Martini, interest or pressure groups use some legal or illegitimate tactics to reach
their purposes. Aitken et al. and Campos and Giovannoni note that these groups organize meetings, give advertisements, write letters to the editor and interview spokespersons on current a_airprograms on television or radio. They also design public activities to draw attention of the publicand the media. For this reason, politically they acquire status, organize campaigns in elections either directly or indirectly, negotiate with other groups, build alliances and attract members and funds
Policy is an activity which determines timing, implementation and scope while setting
organizational policies, rules and regulations for governing planned purposes. In this context,
according to Bursalıo˘glu educational policy consists of a set of rules and regulations that lead to
decisions taken for educational institutions. The fact is that education a_ects the quality of people’s lives with the knowledge and understanding obtained through the educational process. Also, the quality of a society’s education system reflects the values of the society.
1.6. The Roles of Interest or Pressure Groups in Developing Educational Policies
As each group hopes to establish the society according to their values, there is a great interest
from several groups regarding the development of educational policies in any educational system, as well as in the Turkish educational system. In Turkey, there are societal demands for an updated and modern education reform to reflect its attitudes and requirements. It naturally attracts a great deal of attention, comment and contribution from people and groups at all levels of the society . In this context, regarding the development of educational policies, there are some obvious actors like teachers, administrators, school board associations as well as parent and citizen, business, religious and political interest groups and trade unions in Turkey. However it is a matter of importance to figure out to what extent these groups are influential in setting agenda in educational policies. For this reason, the main
purpose of this study was to explore the roles of interest and pressure groups in the development of educational policies in Turkey..
2. Materials and Methods
The current research employed a phenomenological research design which is also defined as
qualitative research. These kinds of research are conducted to find out how a concept or a phenomenon
is experienced and understood by individuals . These research methods are also used to gain
in-depth knowledge in a study. The phenomenological approach suggests that participants
should be regarded as individuals who create their own meanings in the social environment in which they live and the relations they have established; they are re-creators of their social worlds with their own subjectivity .
The participants of the research were 15 teachers and principals who were chosen with a maximum variation sampling method. When using a maximum variation sampling method, the researcher selects a small number of units or cases that maximize the diversity relevant to the research question . By using this method, it was aimed to select one participant per group, which allowed the researchers to preserve multiple perspectives based on both the status in the program and critical demographics. So, out of 15 participants, di_erent teachers and principals were selected in order to display dfferent dimensions on the following demographic characteristics: gender, post, school type and trade union membership
Trustworthiness and Rigor
In order to provide trustworthiness and rigor, some precautions were taken. First of all,
the researcher here was in the role of facilitator and listener. In this process, the interviewer only
asked questions and recorded the teachers’ and school principals’ responses. They did not lead the participants. The interview questions were analyzed by five experts whowere specialized in qualitative research in order to provide content validity. The questions were finalized after the experts’ feedback and recommendations. Moreover, the participants’ hesitations about the confidentiality of the detailed answers were eliminated. Also, in order for participants not to be influenced by some power relations, the interviews were conducted outside school buildings.
In addition, in order to provide validity and reliability to the research, some further precautions
were taken. In the first place, the interview form was finalized after a full literature review to ensure a good contextual framework. After interviews were transcribed, each interview transcript was sent back to the participant for self-checking. In the second place, for increasing external validity of the research, the research design, participants, data collection, analysis and interpretation were described in a detailed way. In the third place, in order to provide internal reliability, all data were transcribed having no interpretation. Moreover, the raw data and coded data have been preserved by the researcher and other researchers are welcomed to examine them. The coded data were compared with that of the researcher and the consistency was calculated as 88% .
This study has some limitations. Firstly, in this study, qualitative research design was preferred.
These studies aim to gather in-depth answers about a situation, event or phenomenon. As a requirement of a qualitative research design, it is not possible to generalize obtained results to be universal. Secondly, in this study group the participant teachers and school principals were volunteers and they may not represent other administrators within other groups. For this reason, the conclusions drawn here can be limited to this group of participants. Therefore, while transferring these results to other populations, it is necessary to be careful. Thirdly, the data analysis and interpretations of the results reflect the researchers’ perspective. Another researcher may infer di_ering results with same data sets .Lastly, even though the researcher aimed at interviewing an equal representative sample, it was impossible to provide full equality.