ORGSTUDY 425 - Interest Group Politics
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Organizational Studies (ORGSTUDY)
Department: LSA Organizational Studies
Waitlist Capacity:
Waitlist Notes:
For information about the waitlist, please contact the professor Michael Heaney (
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course examines the ways that citizens, firms, and institutions struggle to gain representation through organized interest groups in the United States. We attempt to negotiate an understanding of groups that neither quixotically champions their representative functions nor cynically decries their supposed omnipotence. Instead, we situate groups within a larger context of multiple actors and institutions vying for political influence. We use an organizational perspective to evaluate this behavior. The course begins by establishing several frameworks for evaluating interest group politics. We then explore how groups face dilemmas of collective action and (sometimes) overcome them through the formation of social movements and lobbying organizations. We consider how groups form relationships with political parties and other political elites in Washington, DC. We evaluate group strategies for lobbying Congress and achieving influence over elections, bureaucratic decision making, and judicial processes. The course concludes and by evaluating the place of interest groups in the broader American political system.

Course Requirements:

Students are expected to participate in class by reading assigned materials, regularly offering comments, and participating in class discussions (150 points). Short Assignments: Students are expected to complete 8 short writing assignments, ranging in length from 250- 750 words, adding to a total of 4,250 words (17 pages). Students will select 1 or more interest groups of their own choosing as a basis for writing short analyses that draw upon the concepts and theories of the course. Assignments are listed on the course outline and should be submitted to CTools on the day that they are due (150 points). Midterm Exam: A closed-book midterm exam will be given in class. It will consist of short-answer questions and will emphasize theoretical concepts and their application (200 points). Final Exam: A closed-book final exam will be administered in class. It will be a mix of short-answer and essay questions (200 points).

Intended Audience:

Students in Organizational Studies and Political Science with an interest in organizational politics. Note that for political science students, this course is being offered in the american subfield.

Class Format:

3 hours lecture/ week

ORGSTUDY 425 - Interest Group Politics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 1626163804
The Ethical Lobbyist, Author: Thomas T. Holyoke, Publisher: Georgetown University Press 2016
ISBN: 1107170362
Strange Bedfellows: Interest Group Coalitions, Diverse Partners, and Influence in American Social Policy, Author: Robin Phinney, Publisher: Cambridge University Press 2017
ISBN: 0199898383
The MoveOn effect : the unexpected transformation of American political advocacy, Author: David Karpf., Publisher: Oxford University Press 2012
ISBN: 0691177929
Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action, Author: Helen Margetts,? Peter John,? Scott Hale,? Taha Yasseri 2017
ISBN: 0190626607
Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats, Author: Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins 2016
ISBN: 1138945277
The Organization of Political Interest Groups: Designing advocacy, Author: Darren R. Halpin 2015
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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