Film Analysis: Twelve Angry Men

Topics: Leadership, Jury, 12 Angry Men Pages: 6 (2021 words) Published: October 4, 2009
The movie "Twelve Angry Men" is about a young man who is accused of stabbing his father to death. The twelve jurors have to decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. If the young man is found guilty, there is a mandatory death sentence (the jury needs to be unanimous in their decision). At the preliminary vote, eleven of the twelve jurors vote the young man guilty. Henry Fonda is the only one who voted the accused as not guilty because he doesn't want to send the defendant to the death penalty without discussing it. Throughout the movie, Henry uses various styles of leadership in which I will discuss further in the following section.

Question 1:At the beginning, Henry uses the supporting style of leadership from Hersey and Blanchard's Situational Leadership framework. In this style, Henry demonstrates low task focus and high relationship focus. As mentioned previously, at the beginning of the deliberation process Henry is the only one who votes not guilty, everybody else voted guilty without really thinking about their decision. Henry wanted to talk about it before making a serious decision concerning a young man's life. Compared to other jurors, Henry was trying to create a discussion rather than an argument. He expressed no adherence to either position but wanted to discuss the case in an open-minded manner. Although other jurors got mad and started yelling, Henry stayed calmed throughout the situation and was a good listener. He was trying to find out why the other jurors voted guilty and trying to get their cooperation (this was seen when Henry was elaborating on the juror's explanations of their choice for voting guilty). As well, he was trying to motivate individuals within the group and keep them focused; however several jurors were not cooperating and there was a lack of commitment (although the jurors possess the competence to come to an agreement). They were constantly interrupting him, shouting, and at one point two jurors were playing 'tic-tac-toe'. They were not open-minded and didn't want to listen to what others had to say. Almost everyone in the room wanted to leave but in the end Henry was able to get others to reconsider their position. This leadership style was appropriate when comparing it to the group's readiness. Although the jurors were able to examine this case in greater details, they were refusing to do so and were not showing any commitment. Henry was able to persuade them to cooperate and participate (high focus on relationship) in which it led him into another leadership style approach; coaching.

A second leadership style that was used by Henry was the coaching style. In this style, Henry demonstrates high task focus and high relationship focus. The jurors were somewhat willing to discuss the situation but Henry reinforced his suggestion of talking about it before making any final decision. The jury did have the competence to agree on a verdict but lacked commitment. They needed direction from the leader in order to get them going. By persuading the old man to change his vote, it gave the group an opportunity to discussion the situation. As a result, Henry was able to change others minds and feelings concerning the young man.

Throughout the deliberation, Henry gave his opinion and created new options and ideas in which he raised valid and logical points. He looked at the situation from different point of views, for instance; when they investigated the witnesses' credibility. He analyzed several facts from the night of the murder and he re-enacted certain scenes in order to prove his point. The re-enactment eventually got the interest of others in the room in which it triggered their curiosity to hear what Henry had to say. He had several counter arguments throughout the deliberation asking others questions concerning the situation, for instance; is it possible the boy lost his knife and someone else stabbed his father with a similar knife? He got others to reflect about the...

References: umet, S. (Director). (1957). Twelve Angry Men. United States: United Artists.
Rothwell, D. J. (2007). In Mixed Company: Communicating in Small Groups and Team (6th edition). Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.
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