The institutional effects of the Scottish Parliament upon organised interests.
MacIver, Hazel E. C.
MetadataShow full item record
Interest group activity in Scotland has been subject to relatively little academic research. This thesis, begun the same year that the Scottish Parliament opened, looks at the effects of this new political institution (with particular emphasis on the legislature) upon the behaviour and beliefs of six interest groups in Scotland. The effect of the different parliamentary components (the Scottish Parliament as a whole, the Scottish Executive, the committees, the committee clerks and MSPs) on the groups is looked at in detail. Two of the groups chose not to adopt insider strategies, believing that the parliamentary committees were the best venue for their organisations to target. During the early years of the Scottish Parliament the six groups regarded the legislature (namely the committees) as a target to change policy and not just as a channel to the Scottish Executive. New institutionalist theory was applicable in explaining the responses of the groups, although one of the three approaches - rational choice, sociological and historical institutionalism – is more applicable than the other two in certain circumstances. Sociological institutionalism is the most applicable new institutionalist approach in explaining behaviour during the bringing about of change; historical institutionalism is most applicable when change is being established as new institutions and rules are set up and rational choice institutionalism is the most applicable approach during times of stability, allowing groups to look to their own self interests. It is possible to predict which approach is most applicable at any one time, depending on the circumstances and whether the group works in isolation or if it interacts with others in the political system.