In the “Twelve Angry Men” film, the actions and behaviors of the Jurors reveal the concept of a small group communication. According to Rozell and Gundersen (2003), group communication is comprised of both task and social components (p. 201). Twelve men were selected to serve as jurors on the trial of an 18-year-old boy who had being prosecuted for allegedly stabbing his father to death. This setting took place In a New York courthouse. The prosecutors had several eyewitness testimonies, and the evidence, a knife that they needed to convict the 18-year-old boy. The jury must deliberate until a unanimous decision is reached. This is an example of Shared Norms; this group is trying to reach a specific goal. We continue to explore further about the different personality in the group in order, to examine their commitments, and how they related, in which complementary skills, justification, personal agendas being utilized before achieving the group goal. In the organization behavior perspective, individual personality, mood, and emotions are among the barriers and constraints in making decisions. The case appeared to open and shut case. However, there was one, Juror No. 8 who cast doubt on the case. This juror holdout and made every attempt to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.
As the deliberations unfold, one can see the different personalities of the jurors. By recognizing the different personality of the group, it was easier to handle any dynamic that arose within the group. Juror 3 was the aggressor, he was loud, stubborn and emotional. He is also prejudiced against the defendant because he reminds him of his son, from whom he is estranged. Juror 10 the joker he was always disrupting the group. Juror 12 the Self -Confessor, he kept telling everyone irrelevant stories about his work and had no real inputs for the group. Juror 7 the Withdrawer kept referring to his baseball game and was distracted throughout the group interaction. Juror 10 was prejudice against the defendant because he was from the slums, and believed everyone from the slums are criminals, he had a lot of outbursts and tried to convince Juror 8 to vote guilty. Juror 1 was appointed the foreman of the group but did not have much interaction with the group as a leader, he seems to listen more to the other jurors than providing his comments or opinions, his behavior causes a shift in leadership. Juror 8 emerged as a leader of the group. He exhibited task-oriented leadership style. As our textbook pointed out a task leader is a person who keeps the group focused on the primary goal or task by setting agendas. One of the most important qualities of leadership is the ability to stay calm, focused and able to interact. Juror 8 possess all those qualities. He did not attempt to dominate the group but rather allowing the jury members to rely on each other for direction. He asked a lot of questions which enable the other jurors to analyze the evidence in a more concrete manner. He also asked jurors to put aside “”their”” biases. He stated It’s not so easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first. He believes everyone deserves justice and a fair trial. He suggested new ways to solve the problem, he asked the jury to deliberate for at least an hour, so he could present the evidence, an identical knife that he purchased in a pawn shop two blocks from where the defendant lived, shattering the claim that the knife was so unique and identifiable, he also disputed the testimony of an old man who could not have been at his door in time to see the accused fleeing. He presented an in-depth analysis of the facts of the case. The inconsistencies that he pointed out slowly convince the other jurors to vote not guilty.
We see the power of task-oriented leadership, the cycle of the changing role of leadership, and great effort it takes to change a random collection of individuals into a winning team. ‘Group Cohesion’ stands to explain the degree to which each of the members of the group desire to remain in the group. Juror 8 changes the entire story of the young boy when he convinces his other eleven jurors that the two key witnesses for the case were mistaken and that they could not be really considered. He also showed empathy by asking other jurors to put themselves in the boy’s shoes. He talks about what it must have been like for the teenager, constantly pushed around by his father, and living in rough and slum-like conditions. He wasn’t using these as excuses, but rather because it provided context for much of the evidence that was being used against the accused. His leadership trait was extremely effective.
Rozell, E. J., & Gundersen, D. E. (2003). The Effects of Leader Impression Management on Group Perceptions of Cohesion, Consensus, and Communication. Small Group Research, 34(2)