12 Angry Men: Organizational Behavior

Topics: Jury, Jury nullification, Verdict Pages: 6 (2109 words) Published: August 12, 2012
12 Angry Men is a film that plays on the psychological mind, and highlights many features of Organizational Behavior. As the jury of 12 men convene in a locked room to decide the future, or lack thereof, of a young boy accused of murdering his father, they illustrate movement through the four stages of Bruce Tuckman’s Group Development Model of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Along with this model, the movie portrays the difficulties and cohesiveness that 12 different men experience as they must come together to make one single unanimous decision. In an attempt to make this decision, several examples of influential behavior are highlighted throughout the film, as the members of the Jury experience using reason, assertiveness, coalition building, higher values and bargaining tools.

During the first stage of Tuckman’s Model, teams go through what is called “Forming.” Although I would not consider the group of Juror’s a team by definition, they are a group that must work together to accomplish a common goal. There is a process of initial orientation during Forming, where groups essentially test each other to establish relationships with leaders, other group members and standards. In the film as the Jurors settled into the deliberation room, Juror #1 was previously randomly selected as Foreman, who essentially led the group in order and process. Taking on the role of task orientation which takes the initiative to help a group perform a task, he would be the one to organize the voting processes and seating arrangements though to maintain a sense of order. In terms of physicality, he also sat at the head of the table, as would a leader. Most of the other group members immediately accepted his position without question. In the beginning scenes inside the Jury room, Juror #8 would also emerge as a leader of this group, which was increasingly evident as the movie progressed. Being the sole member with a ‘not guilty’ ballot during the first voting round, he was led to defend his position and lead the group to a series of revelations that introduced reasonable doubt for what resulted in all eleven remaining members. Juror #7 was particularly annoyed with Juror #8 and tested his quest for leadership, as the thought of actually taking the time to discuss the case would affect his time frame to attend a baseball game. I must note that the first round of votes was seemingly not without doubt. Some members hesitated to vote guilty, as they were probably pressured by the OB concept of “group-think” and “Norm,” not wanting to go against the grain. Along with Juror #1 and #8, there was another Juror who struggled for leadership in his views of a guilty verdict. Throughout the movie, Juror #3 attempted to test the boundaries and corral the other members using an assertive influential tactic of aggression to strong arm his fellow Juror’s into either remaining or diverting back to a guilty vote. He essentially fought Juror #8 for power over the others, to sway them all back to a guilty verdict.

Juror #3 leads me to Tuckman’s second developmental stage of Storming. This stage is characterized by conflict from interpersonal issues and resistance to group efforts and task requirements. Juror #3’s aggression and unwillingness to work together is an example of this Storming process. He resisted most efforts to dissect the issues put forth by the courtroom as suggested by Juror #8. Towards the end of the movie, we find that Juror #3 has personal emotional issues involving his son that led him to have negative views of the boy on trial. He was angry at the destroyed relationship between himself and his son, and took that anger out in his automatic guilty verdict. Not alone in personal prejudices, during this stage Juror #10 expresses his personal biases against what he refers to as, “those people.” His personal feelings were already formed before deliberation even began, causing him to vote guilty without a...
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