Understanding and Explaining the Marginalization of Part-Time British Army Reservists


This paper focuses on the experiences of Reservists and the tensions that exist for people who undertake work as Reservists on a part-time basis.


Recent changes in the British Army mean part-time reservists and full-time regulars need to become better integrated. However, there has been a long history of workplace tensions between the full-time and part-time elements in the British Army. This mirrors those found in many civilian workplaces. Focus group data with 105 full-time regular British Army soldiers confirmed that time and emotional commitment are strongly linked in a full-time professional workplace that has strong, definite, and enduring boundaries. This, alongside demands for conformity and stratification by rank explained the high risk of marginalization of part-time reservists. The legitimacy of part-time reservists, especially in the combat arms, was often challenged. Using this explanatory framework, some implications and practical ways that tensions may be reduced between full-time and part-time members of the British Army, and other armed forces facing similar tensions, were highlighted.

Full Reference

Connelly V., 2021. Understanding and Explaining the Marginalization of Part-Time British Army Reservists. Armed Forces & Society. 47(4):661-689. doi:10.1177/0095327X20948591.