The purpose of this study was to identify what motivates Norwegian soldiers’ to participate in international operations. The study was conducted pre-deployment during the preparation phase with 18 soldiers (nine women and nine men) in the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. Semi-structured interviews were applied, and eight types of motivations were identified: 1) adventure and excitement, 2) to get experience and to acquire competence, 3) useful merit for future (civil or military) career, 4) economic benefit, 5) the job and the profession, 6) comradeship, 7) to have done it, and, 8) to do something good for others.
The eight motivations identified were organized using a motivation typology with the following categories: paleomodern, modern, and postmodern. All three categories were found among the Norwegian soldiers’, with modern motivations (characterized by material and self-oriented motivations, such as economic benefit, useful merit for future (civil or military) career, and, the job and the profession), and postmodern motivations (characterized by egoistic but not materialistic motivations, such as adventure and excitement, to get experience and to acquire competence, and, to have done it), to be more prevalent than paleomodern motivations (characterized by normative commitments, such as to do something good for others, and comradeship). Two additional factors were identified, relating to and possibly influencing the soldiers’ motivations for participation. These were: a) reasons given for not participating, and b) support from family and friends.