Individual reservist affiliation motivators and objections
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Across the reserve force there are communities, occupational fields, and grades with persistent manning shortfall in non-obligor populations. Non-obligor reservists are volunteers with each individual reservist having well developed a rationale and reasons for affiliating and not affiliating with a reserve unit. Monetary methods are the primary incentive employed to induce reservists to affiliate and fill billets with shortfalls. Money has had a positive impact, but the utilization of monetary incentives is not based upon a deep understanding of the underlying individual reservist's motivations. This mixed-method study included interviews and a survey of Marine Reserves as well as an open-ended electronic survey of Reservists’ spouses/partners. The results provide a deeper understanding of individual non-obligor reservist's motivations and rationale for affiliating with reserve units and recommendations. Findings suggest funds spent on re-affiliation bonuses could be used more effectively elsewhere. Moreover, even for those Reservists whose decisions to re-affiliate were/will be contingent on receiving a bonus, it appears that the bonus is necessary in order to compensate for the problematic issues proposed in the conceptual model. Hence, addressing these issues may reduce the need to offer re-affiliation bonuses and/or reduce the amount of money required to incentivize disenchanted Reservists, thereby offering direct and indirect means of lowering the costs associated with reducing turnover.
Prepared for: Deputy for Resources, Manpower and Analyses, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (M&RA)Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
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