Lobbying in Washington, London and Brussels: The Persuasive Communication of Political Issues

Author: McGrath, Conor
This book examines the activities of lobbyists in the three largest global lobbying markets – Washington, London and Brussels – and places those activities in the context of the political, cultural and institutional environments within which lobbying is undertaken in those locations. Its fundamental premise is that institutions and political frameworks make a great deal of difference to which effective lobbyists will approach their work.
Based on interviews with 60 lobbyists in those cities, the book seeks to describe the range of activities which they undertake – from monitoring to research, grass roots efforts to coalition building, atmosphere setting to direct advocacy.
In the first section of this book, these activities are analysed and the lobbyists’ views explained, in the light of current academic and popular literature. The second section contains detailed transcripts of interviews with 16 of the lobbyists, in which they speak at length and in in their own words. One of the aims of this work is to put lobbyists firmly at the heart of research into lobbying – too often, academic works on lobbyists treat lobbyists’ experiences and expertise as peripheral to the mathematical modeling of their activities.
Designed with academic researchers in mind, the book also contains a wealth of insights from lobbyists from which other practitioners in the three locations can draw upon.


“This book combines an extensive literature review, fifty interviews and nine mini-case studies into a comprehensive three-capital comparison ... Comparison is the strength of this book ... Those already familiar with the literature will find much reassurance on conventional thinking, for this book tends to confirm rather than unsettle. Its originality, however, stands out: it is to take readers into the three capitals which are the powerhouses of modern lobbying. It will be a standard, international text on lobbying until a new political economy adds Beijing and Baghdad as global power centers.” – Dr. Kevin Moloney, Principal Lecturer, Bournemouth University

“ ... This book examines the similarities and differences in the key activities of lobbyists ... A major feature of the study is that it offers very useful detailed analysis of how the institutional frameworks, particularly the Party systems and Executive/Legislative relationships, have played a major role in determining the differing public policy processes in Washington, London and Brussels ... Overall this is an important and extremely useful book which will be of interest to a range of audiences including: lobbyists, politicians, academics and students of public relations/political communication ... This book will make a very valuable contribution to the emerging body of work in the field of political public relations.” – Dr. Ian Somerville, Queen Margaret University College

“We can profess nothing but admiration for the immense work of investigation carried out by the author: over 60 lobbyists interviewed both commercial lobbyists and in-house lobbyists within companies or professional organisations. This enables the author to draw up an extremely wide-ranging and illuminating overview of lobbying principles in three major political environments of the Western world ... McGrath’s work is undoubtedly a remarkable contribution to the understanding of the current practices of lobbying, and their usefulness – or their danger – for our democratic societies.” – Society and Business Review

"For anyone studying lobbying this book will become a standard text for reference. It contains a wealth of material culled from the existing literature, is well structured and suggest many avenues for further research." - Journal of Legislative Studies

"The strength of this book is that it contains a lot of information about lobbying from people that are actively, or have been, in the enterprise of lobbying legislative bodies at the national or international level. One may be put off by its repetitiveness." Prof. T P. Wolf, Indiana University Southeast for British Politics Group Quarterly

"The valiant effort to redress the negative connotations associated with the conception of lobbying, by pointing out that in a complex political environment with numerous interests vying for the attention of legislators and decision-makers there needs to be a process by which these groups are heard and through which the complexities of different languages are overcome, is largely successful. A key message is that it is not just big tobacco or big pharma; all voluntary or charitable organizations are engaged in lobbying, struggling to make themselves heard against a background cacophony of other interested parties." – Dr. Howard Viney, Open University Business School

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Issues of Definition
3. The Activities of Lobbyists
4. Methods of Persuasion
5. Political Environments
6. Lobbying Institutions
7. Conclusion
Washington Perspectives
London Perspectives
Brussels Perspectives