The Governmental Process
David B. Truman
Interest groups are characterized by shared attitudes. This allows such groups "frames of reference for interpreting and evaluating events and behaviors." Some interest groups feel neglected by government. At the same time, there is a concern that too much emphasis on interest groups takes away attention and focus from the individual and society as a whole. Individuals do not always function alone. They are part of multiple groups and their roles change according to the group they're participating in at the time.
We cannot assume that all people want the same political agenda even when they are exposed to the same information. We are first individuals. Truman uses our political parties as an example of this.
Interest groups have been around for a long time. Some are loosely formed while others are highly organized. In spite of such groups, America's political process remains strong.
Groups "consistently reconcile their differences, adjust, and accept compromises."
Groups can exert power over other groups. They often get their ideas and points across through the political process. Groups can be well known and respected or considered controversial. There are three major factors that play a role in how effective a group uses government to spread its cause. First, it depends greatly on how that group is received in society. Is it respected? Are there government officials who "belong" to the group? A second factor involves the cohesiveness of the group. Is there sound leadership? Does the group have financial backing? A final factor is the actual operation of government agencies themselves.
Because we, as humans, function in groups the governmental process can be "viewed as one of interest groups interaction." These groups will not disappear and will continue to shape American government and policy.