Date of Conferral
Stephanie N. Hoon
The nonparticipation of U.S. Army Reserve soldiers throughout the Army Reserve Command is a critical problem for it results in millions of dollars in lost revenue. Retaining nonparticipant soldiers is a strategic, operational, and tactical priority for Army Reserve leadership. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to determine key themes concerning the potential root causes of nonparticipation in the Army Reserve. Using Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, research was conducted to analyze the themes that contributed to nonparticipation, particularly lack of attendance at monthly battle assembly and extended combat training. Data were collected from telephone interviews that were conducted with 20 participants and then transcribed and analyzed using auto coding and query-based coding features. Ten themes emerged from analysis of responses to the 14 interview questions. A key result was that the participants believed that family, work, and school conflicts were barriers for soldiers not attending battle assembly or extended combat training. Further exploration of the participants' experiences and perceptions resulted in the finding that communication was not effective between the leadership, staff, and first-line leaders and nonparticipant soldiers. Six participants agreed and 11 participants strongly agreed that new policy should be written to retain and recover nonparticipant soldiers. Study findings may enlighten the chain of command in the U.S. Army Reserve about the barriers leading to nonparticipation among soldiers and about how they may improve the participation rate. Such changes may foster more teamwork while contributing to productivity in the organization and safeguarding millions of dollars withheld from Army Reserve accounts.