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Volunteer in the Danish Home Guard 2011

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What characteristics distinguish the typical Home Guard? What is the motivation to become a volunteer in the Home Guard? What is the general opinion about Home Guard participation in international operations in 2011? SFI is answering these questions by using survey data about the Danish Home Guard. The aim of the project is to map the group of volunteers and gain knowledge about important aspects in their voluntary work in the Home Guard.

The Home Guard Command has asked SFI to prepare a follow up report on the volunteer members of the Home Guard. In 2007 SFI completed the first project about the Danish Home Guard, and the new report will investigate changes in the group of volunteers. This report has two main aims: The first aim is to identify the developments and changes since 2007 in the composition of the members, changes in attitudes and reasons for being a member. The second aim is to explore members’ attitudes towards international operation. Since 2008 the Home Guard has participated in Afghanistan by providing security and protecting the Danish camps, and this new role of engagement for the Home Guard can have an impact on the kind of people who want to join. General public opinion of the Home Guard may be different after the engagement in Afghanistan. This information can be used to secure better funding for the Home Guard to reach their gpals, and it may make the service more attractive for new members.

The project is based on survey data, and data for the analysis comprises a sample of members of the Home Guard. The data comprises information regarding the members’ current situation i.e. education, occupation, and social status. Furthermore, data includes attitudes to different aspects regarding work in the Home Guard and general satisfaction from being a member. We also ask what the members consider is the main aim of the Home Guard.

The study has been completed using postal and web-based questionnaires. The empirical data is a random sample of the Home Guard members, and is stratified upon three different parameters. 20 groups represent the strata and the extraction is first based on five services: the Army Home Guard, the Naval Home Guard, the Air Force Home Guard, the Infra-structure Home Guard and the Police Home Guard. From here we study five groups roughly with the same amount of members. The second extraction is based on, active members and members of the reserve. The distinction here is members registered with a participation for less than 24 hours per year, and members who are registered with more than 24 hours a year. The third parameter is by rank; commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and privates.

The sample stratification ensures that the data consists of all the important groups in the Home Guard, because the level of participation of a specific group in the service may influence how and how much they participate in the survey, as well as their attitudes. By using information about the number of respondents from the different groups who answer the questionnaire, we constructed weights. These weights were used in different analyses to ensure that all groups count equally to the population, thereby as far as possible adjusting for groups with a lower rate of participation in the survey.

In order to elucidate the main questions we apply different statistical analysis methods. Descriptive statistics will illustrate the typical Home Guard in 2011. Latent class analysis will be used to identify different ideal types among the members; some members are motivated by defending Denmark, others emphasize the leisure pastime/activity aspects, some are motivated because of the opportunities to gain more education and management experience. Finally, some are members for social reasons. Different types of logit models will be used to estimate the likelihood of being member and the number of hours spent in the Home Guard and considerations about leaving the Home Guard.

The report will be published in March 2011. For further information about the study, contact project manager Torben Fridberg, senior researcher, tf@sfi.dk  or research assistant Malene Damgaard mda@sfi.dk.

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