The Motivational Factors Of Joining The Military Service Among The Young Adults Research Paper Examples

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Military, Services, Motivation, People, Armed Forces, Education, Army, War

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/18

Abstract

In today's American society, where the Armed Forces mean a complex social institution, it is important to understand how everything is organized within this large system. To realize how young people make the decision to join this system, we conducted a study. The point of this research is to explore different motivational factors that influence the young adult’s decision to enlist in the Military service. The work contains an overview and an analysis of traditional (divergent) and post traditional (convergent) motives of why youth makes a decision to join the Military. An assumption made that the key factor of enlistment is a financial need in various benefits, especially in educational benefits.
Key words: military, motivational factors, service benefits.
Contemporary military sociology aims to explore the various issues, considering the armed forces as a large social institution. The Military, as a social group is significantly different from the civil social group, which is reflected in the behavioral patterns, values, traditions, hierarchies, roles, etc. These categories can be included in the general concept of the Military Identity, as described in the article R. B. Johansen, J. C. Laberg, and M. Martinussen (2014). One of the actual issues nowadays is the issue of the dominant motivational factors that influence the decision of young people to enlist to the Military. What makes a man or woman change his or her civil social attitude to the military social attitude? As stated in the study of Brænder and Andersen, the motivation of both military and civilian has a common feature, such as a desire to serve the public interest, although, the military people undergo a greater risk during their service, which differentiates their motives from civilian ones (2014). For a better understanding of the peculiar issues associated with the motivation of young people to join the Armed Forces, it is important to consider what benefits can get the servicemen in the United States.
The United States Military has several branches that differ in the specific enlistment requirements, activities, terms, conditions and benefits of further service (Wildsmith, 2012). The main Armed Services of the US Military are the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard (US Armed Forces Overview, n.d.). Snow Wildsmith, in his series of books devoted to the specification of the enlistment process, demonstrates a questionnaire which can help young people to determine if they are ready and eligible to serve. The books also help future enlistees to choose the preferred branch of Military.
As quoted in J. Jelušič (2006), researchers Sarvas and Hodny offered in 1998 to divide the motives to join the Armed Forces into two categories: divergent (traditional) and convergent (post-traditional). The analysis of numerous works of various scientists can result in the following list of basic motivational factors that influence the decision of young people to enlist.
Divergent, or traditional motivational factors include, but are not limited to: a) the patriotic feelings and a desire to serve the nation (Clayton, 2015; Mariscal, 2007; Wildsmith, 2012); altruism, the desire to make difference and to give back to others (Brænder & Andersen, 2014; Mariscal, 2007; Wildsmith, 2012); b) maintaining a family tradition of military service (Hall, 2012; Jelušič, 2006; Miles, 2006); feelings of admiration for a specific military figure (Jelušič, 2006); c) the opportunity to challenge oneself, undergo physical and mental stress, keep discipline (Jelušič, 2006; Miles, 2006; Wildsmith, 2012); a desire to become more mature and self-confident (Brooks, 2013); a possibility to exercise leadership skills and practice teamwork (Clayton, 2015); d) the acquisition of the prestigious status of a proud veteran, the need for respect (Clayton, 2015; Hall, 2012; Miles, 2006).
Convergent, or post traditional motivational factors include: a) financial benefits in the forms of higher income and early pensions (Brooks, 2013; Clayton, 2015; Hall, 2012; Mariscal, 2007; Wildsmith, 2012); the opportunity to get a large loan to buy a house or to pay for college tuition (Brooks, 2013; Clayton, 2015; Hall, 2012; Mariscal, 2007; Wildsmith, 2012); b) a better chance of employment; medical expenses coverage (Clayton, 2015); the acquisition of technical skills needed for a well-paid job (Clayton, 2015; Miles, 2006); c) the opportunity to travel around the world (Clayton, 2015; Wildsmith, 2012); d) the chance to avoid disenfranchisement (Mariscal, 2007).
Jelušič states, that soldiers who share convergent motives while enlisting “convert to civil life more successfully” (p. 356) comparing to the ones with the dominance of divergent motives. The result depends on the soldier’s expectations and the perceptions of the military service.
Some other reasons that hardly fall into one of two categories include the following: a) the desire to experience the real combat based on one's passion for military movies or for the first-person shooter videogames (Brooks, 2013); b) uncertainty in the choice of their future, the desire to try something new in the life (Wildsmith, 2012); c) an attempt to escape from the current life difficulties (Hall, 2012; Mariscal, 2007).
Military offers many financial benefits to the servicemen, such as high salaries and bonuses, the early retirement opportunity after 20 years of service, as well as a chance to get a large loan (Clayton, 2015). However, it would be interesting to study, what people tend to collect money for.
Some enlistees care about their families the most. Service in the Armed Forces increases the chances of getting a stable, well-paid job, even in the difficult economy and high unemployment rates (Hall, 2012; Clayton, 2015). As well as the soldier, his family has the right to get the health care benefits (Clayton, 2015), which also, presumably, reduces anxiety level and bolsters a chance of sustainable future.
The decision to join the Military service, in many cases is caused by the desire of young people to study in college. Mariscal argues that many young people are lured by the promise of educational benefits due to their financial difficulties (2007). Military service can pay for a significant portion of the college fees. "Only 30 percent of the overall population over age 25 have bachelor's degrees, compared to 82.5 percent of officers," says R. Brooks (2013), showing how the soldiers use given benefits.
If someone from close relatives served in Military, there is a great likelihood that a young family member decides to choose the same path, and, most likely, the same branch of the Armed Forces (Hall, 2012). If an individual grew up in a military family, his or her own service will generate a sense of pride for the continuation of the family tradition (Wildsmith, 2012). A 19-year-old Corey Robinson, in an interview for D. Miles said he always knew he was going to serve in the Army, just as his father did (Miles, 2006).
Military service can vary in time periods; however there is enough time to through the process of intensive skills training. An opportunity to get and improve various technical skills is a significant motivational factor for some men and women looking for their future in the ranks of the Armed Forces (Clayton, 2015). Soldiers have a wide range of choice among the different fields of their interests. Training skills while on duty helps military people to return back to the civilian life.
Speaking about the traditional motives of enlistment, Mariscal mentions, that patriotism and the feeling of duty to country have lost the leading position among the young enlistees (2007). Although, according to the newer survey, described by R. Brooks, about ninety percent of interviewed post-9/11 military veterans "listed serving the country as an important reason for joining" (2013, n.p.).
In the contemporary United States culture being a part of Military is very prestigious and respected decision (Clayton, 2015). Military service is widely promoted through the movies, videogames, books and other media. Some Americans are proud to be on duty and they want to be an example for others (Hall, 2012).
Some people list an opportunity to travel as a prior motivational factor to join the Military. The likelihood of traveling around the Unites States and other countries is rather high, because there are a lot of military installations almost in all of the countries (Clayton, 2015). Although, Wildsmiths reminds that the soldier’s freedom does not always let him or her choose the deployment destination (2012). Nation’s interests come first, so there are situations when the enlistee has nothing else to do, but to obey the order and switch the location.
An escape, as a factor that influences the young adults to join the Military helps some of them to avoid painful aspects of their lives (Hall, 2012). A chance to start the life over, away from home with new people and new lifestyle can be highly motivational.

Conclusions and Further Study

A decision to join the US Armed Forces is quite a crucial decision that determines the nearest future of the volunteer, as well as his or her family and closest associates (Wildsmith, 2012). Assumed, that the main motives for joining the Armed Forces primarily depend on the personality traits. The personal expectations of enlistee and the perception of the military service in general may have effect on the decision to join the specific branch of Military (Jelušič, 2006). Also, under the influence of the family members, friends, and a local recruiter, those who want to enlist, are able to see the variety of benefits that are most suitable to them.
Among the most popular motivational factors that influence the decision to join the Military are the desire to serve the nation and make a difference (Clayton, 2015; Miles, 2006; Mariscal, 2007), an opportunity to enjoy the financial benefits of military service (Brooks, 2013; Clayton, 2015; Hall, 2012; Mariscal, 2007; Wildsmith, 2012) and the desire to gain the skills and college education (Hall, 2012; Clayton, 2015; Wildsmith, 2012).
The scientific knowledge about the motivation of the young enlistees is rather general and needs more specification. For further and more detailed study of this issue, researchers should conduct a series of sociological investigations. They should include more various factors such as age, cultural background, knowledge about the military, etc.

References

Brænder M., Andersen L. B. (2014). Soldier and Civilian Motivation - Different or Similar? A Comparison of Public Service Motivation for Civilians and Military Personnel. In N. M. Karakatsanis and J. Swarts (Eds.), Political and Military Sociology: Military Perceptions and Perceptions of the Military: An Annual Review, (Vol. 42, pp. 1-30). Piscataway Township, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Brooks R. (2013, July 31). Uncle Sam Wants Who? The Real Reasons People Join the Military. Retrieved March 7, 2015, from http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/31/uncle-sam-wants-who/
Clayton R. (2015, February 5). 10 Reasons to Join the Military. Retrieved on March 7, 2015, from http://themilitarywallet.com/reasons-to-join-the-military/
Hall L. K. (2012). The Importance of Understanding Military Culture. In J. Beder (Ed.), Advances in Social Work Practice with the Military (Ch. 1, pp. 3-17). New York, NY: Routledge.
Jelušič L. (2006). Conversion of the Military: Resourse-Reuse Perspective after the End of the Cold War. In G. Caforio (Ed.), Handbook of the Sociology of the Military (Ch. 20, pp. 345-360). New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
Johansen R. B., Laberg J. C., and Martinussen M. (2014). The Impact of Military Identity on Norwegian Junior Officer Students. In N. M. Karakatsanis and J. Swarts (Eds.), Political and Military Sociology: Military Perceptions and Perceptions of the Military: An Annual Review, (Vol. 42, pp. 75-98). Piscataway Township, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Mariscal J. (2007, June 25). The Making of an American Soldier: Why Young People Join the Military. Retrieved on March 7, 2015, from http://www.alternet.org/story/52233/
Miles D. (2006, August 2). New Recruits Share Dreams, Motivations for Joining Military. Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=335
U.S. Armed Forces Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2015, from http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/us-military-overview.html
Wildsmith S. (2012). Joining the United States Army: A Handbook. Joining the Military (Vol. 2). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

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