12 Angry Men- Group Analysis with Comparisons to Business

Paper 2 Group Dynamics is clearly one of the key elements in ’12 Angry Men’, seeing that the entire movie is based on group decision making. In order for decisions to be made within a team, the members must communicate with each other and successfully work together. The realities of work are an obvious theme from the very beginning. Conflict between team members is an important factor to the plot of the movie as discussions and arguments take place over the jury’s decision.

The fact that one man’s beliefs affect the decision of the entire group leads to stress and anger among his fellow members, something extremely common in the business world. In order for a group to be professionally formed, it must go through a number of stages. These can be related to Tuckman and Jensons 5 stage model on group development. This is based on 5 key stages, forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. In the forming stage, concerns and a desire for structure take over.

This was present as they entered the jury room, a group of individuals with personal opinions and ideas as to what happened as opposed to an already functional group. One jury member appears to take charge as a chairperson to the others, providing leadership and ideas as to how they should proceed. Clearly all the members were not yet comfortable enough to voice their opinions at this stage and initiative was necessary from someone in order for the group to proceed.

The storming process took place as the jury members quarrelled and argued over each other’s votes and opinions. They were each allowed to be heard, thus allowing them to gain perspective on other people’s ideas and voicing concerns over these. No group works successfully from the very beginning. The storming process is important as roles within the groups are defined and members can begin to give ideas as to how to proceed, or in the case of the jury, ideas as to what happened. In the norming stage, the group has become effective.

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Members are now working together towards the ultimate goal. Although conflicts are still occurring, and sides are taken, the team is ultimately working as one group. This was evident throughout the movie, although not as clearly as would be seen in a business type working environment. Because of the strong opposing opinions of both sides, (Guilty and Not Guilty) more conflict than teamwork was visible. However this conflict was ultimately the foundation of teamwork within that particular group.

By arguing and voicing opinions, people were influenced to change their ideas and expand on any existing ideas, similar to a product development process. As more previously unrecognised details of the case were unfolded by the original juror to vote not guilty, more of the jury begin to change their votes, thus allowing a previously condemned idea to expand. Comparisons could be made to brainstorming, where one person’s idea can be built on by another.

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