12 Angry Men Analysis – 2

Nobody could forecast that a low budget movie with 12 different actors performing in one single room could affect in such a remarkable degree several sciences like law, business, psychology etc. The movie, based on the scenario that a 12 member jury group is about to decide through a certain procedure if a young boy is going to face the death penalty or not, can be linked with many theories referring to leadership or group/team work. Influenced by the Group Effectiveness Model of Schwarz (2002), the structure of the group along with the context and the process are vital for its effectiveness (Eirini Flouri & Yiannis Fitsakis 2007).
In the first part of the film when the stage of forming, as it is claimed by the Tuckman’s Team Model, occurs, we notice the main characteristics of this group(David A. Buchanan & Andrej Huczynski, 2010). The group consists of 12 male middle aged white men probably coming from the middle class. Even from this first impression, admiring the effort of the film to achieve diversity, signs of prejudice appear. Specifically, the fact that all of them are men and moreover white men represents main biases of that period.
Additionally, as it is mentioned to Sheldon’s Theory about the biases, the somatotype of each person declares in a certain way its character and this can be noticed by the selection of the characters and their match with the roles (Big guy is the tough one, smaller and thinner is the most innocuous, the handsome is the sensible and sensitive one etc. ) (David A. Buchanan & Andrej Huczynski, 2010). Despite the fact that the movie is trying to accuse such biases (which will be underlined later) certain ways of projection of that period could not be avoided.

This is one of the reasons why in the remake of the film in 1997 black actors participated as well and later there even women were introduced in the team for certain theatrical versions. (Eirini Flouri & Yiannis Fitsakis 2007). The existence of a “one-off” situation like this in the movie leaves space for less inhibition for conflicts. Moreover, specific factors like the size, the external-internal environment and the definition of the process play a crucial role in the structure of the group.
Obviously, the size of this group is 12, but the question is: why so many? The reason is that by having a greater number of juries the system of justice achieves higher levels of democracy with less possibilities of getting unfair decisions combining the memory, the knowledge and the experience of each member and eliminates any prejudiced behaviors. On the other hand as Social Impact Theory mentions the more members there are, the less responsibility they feel (Latane and Nida, 1980).
In the external environment we could enclose the time of the procedure, which is unlimited at first but with a deadline coming up afterwards, and the conditions of the place of action, which is characterized by the humidity and the high summer temperatures, the broken air-conditioning, the unavailability of space. Such details could become the cause of stress, aggressiveness and as it was shown desire for fast result (just finish the procedure). In the internal environment issues like experience of previous similar situations, cultures, personalities, knowledge, mood, health, personal schedule and specialization could affect the result.
Ending, a matter of significant importance is the definition of the procedure. In this case, we observe that after the release of the 2 alternatives there are 12 juries left. The juries have to decide if the boy is guilty or not guilty but there must be a full agreement (12 to 0) in each case; A democratic method which proves the importance of the situation. Alternatively, if they cannot reach an agreement they can decide a hung jury and then another trial will take place with different juries this time.
The role of the foreman is usually for the most experienced person in this field or the first jury or for anyone who claims the desire and gets accepted by all. In the movie, juror1 supports this role setting the basic norms of the procedure. It is worth mentioning that nowadays, in the selection of the juries there is a specific procedure that is called “Voir Dire” procedure that clarifies the capability of the juries (Michael T. Nietzelt and Ronald C. Dillehayt 1982). Undoubtedly, the conviction of the biases of any kind is one of the main objects of this film. Primarily, in the first scheme, the judge seems really ninterested about the outcome and he seems to be sure about the result. The Halo Effect is “a judgment based on a single striking characteristic” and is being remarked in many cases during the film (Edward Thorndike, 1920). Moving to the main part of the film and the central procedure we can emphasize on the juror3 and juror10 who are the main representatives of such prejudiced behaviors. Both of them were trying to fill the gaps of their knowledge using selective attention in certain facts and their personal experience (“Principle of closure” by Max Wertheimer 1880-1943).
Everyone has his stereotypes and if we imagine stereotypes as pictures in our head, jurors 3 and 10 have the image of a dangerous criminal for the defendant, raised to act in certain ways (Lippmann, 1922). More specifically, juror3 expresses, from his first lines in the film, his perception against the young boy (“I ‘d slap those kids before…”). But as the movie goes on, he expresses again and again his personal beliefs connecting them with his personal disappointment from his own son (“ it’s these kids they are these day”, “I used to call my father Sir”).
Even more he presents his cultural stereotype against the elderly (“How could he be positive about anything? ”) Eventually, juror3 stands alone with his perceptions, believing in the boy’s guiltiness and through a psychological outburst admits that all his statements were based on biases. Similarly, juror10 uses his own belief to create his racial prejudice against the defendant (“I‘ve expected that”, “You know what we are dealing with…”) as well as his past experiences (“I’ve lived with them… they are born liars”).
Adding to this, juror10 weights the value of the young boy less than the cost of a trial. Finally, his “explosion” made the apocalypse of his real personality and the group’s mechanism accused his behavior through a visual isolation and oral prohibition. The existence of biases in each group can create an unpleasant internal environment for each member and be the reason of conflicts. The productivity or the effectiveness of the group is in danger if such behaviors are being tolerated. Apart from the complexity which is created there is also a matter of fairness of the group’s function.
As the movie flows, the influence of the group to each individual separately is obvious but a vice versa phenomenon is noticed as well. In this part, the different roles of the jurors and their influence on each other through the communication style of all-channel are being presented, as well as with some strategies followed by the leader-juror8. One thing that is common for most of the jurors is that they have common BATNA(Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) and this is the hung jury.
However, this is not the case for jury8 claims that his only purpose is the delivery of the justice (Fisher and Uri, 1981). Starting with juror1 we can notice signs of leadership in the early beginning but he ends up being more like a manager, organizing the procedure. Excluding the moment he reaches his breaking point and suggests if anyone would like to take his place, juror1is the one who sets up the norms, accepts propositions, guides the conversation and the voting procedure, avoids conflicts and respects privileges keeping a democratic way of thinking.
Being the foreman can be characterized as the “co-ordinator” (Beldin’s Team Role Theory 1996, 2007). Many of the jurors (2, 5, 6, 7, 11, and 12) seem to have low self-esteem not only because of their character but also because of the number of the team that forces them to get lost in the crowd or just finish the procedure and leave (“I just think he is guilty”, “Can I pass? ”, etc) This is obvious from the first vote where only 5 of the 11 votes come directly and the rest are raised slowly just to avoid being pointed out.
They are becoming followers(2, 5, 6 and 11) or entertainers (7) or just dreamers (12). Of course most of them are open to hear more and accept different opinions (2, 5, and 7). The rest just do not care so much about the result and these “free riders”, as Frohlich and Oppenheimer called them in 1970, are the proof that social loafing (or Ringelmann Effect) is a common phenomenon in big teams. The role of juror9 has a vital meaning for the outcome because he takes part in all the breaking points of the process.
Firstly, he is the first supporter of juror8, secondly it is him who explains the old witness’s psychology (“Attention”) and lastly he is the fire starter for the fall of the woman’s testimony. The main opponents to the boy’s exoneration are jurors 3, 4 and 10. As was mentioned previously jurors 3 and 10 are mostly based on biases and stereotypes for children from slums. They are all concentrated on general facts and obvious details. The extensive use of loud voice is frequently the main argument of jurors 3 and 10, which could never strengthen their position.
Alternatively, juror4 is using his logic and cleverness to support his facts and admits his fault proving his maturity, once he is convinced. Focusing on juror8 we can claim that he owns the position of the leader as his bargaining power is unique. Max Weber (1947) claimed that “bargaining power is the ability someone has to achieve his goals no matter of the resistance he faces”. Juror8 follows a series of strategies in order to be flexible and adapt to the needs of each occasion. In the beginning, as it is shown from Jo-Hari’s Window, everyone has a bigger unknown-black side, so juror8 wants to get information as an input.
Eventually, he adopts the strategy of a listener in order to get knowledge from the others without revealing himself. Afterwards, in the first vote he stays neutral mentioning his points aiming to make some of the rest see the facts from a different angle avoiding any conflict. The brainstorming procedure just began. In order to wake up their consciousness he uses specific words like “maybe”, “supposing”, “possible” and “assume”. In the main part he listens carefully and argues with all the elements one by one. There is also an extensive use of rhetorical questions and irony just to make his point clear.
The first action scheme is when he places the similar knife on the table. The leader breaks the law in order to prove his point. He becomes more active for the first time and gets the whole team upset. Eventually, he creates the first doubts. At this specific time he calls for a new vote. Apparently, the timing is not random. Probably he recognizes some voices like his and decides that it is time to set up a coalition strategy. He needs just one vote which will strengthen amazingly his arguments and he gets it.
The fact that he uses his emotional intelligence to point out his views, while he realizes that some other jurors are playing, proves once again his leading abilities. The next step is to create personal relations with some of the jurors. So, he finds the weakest of the group who are about to change side and ask for their opinions. It is not by accident that these jurors were mainly followers until this time. Having established these connections, he uses logic and science as well as the experience and the knowledge of the group in order to persuade the others.
As soon as he realizes that one of his main opponents (juror3) loses his self-control, juror8 becomes aggressive and pushes him to the limits using the technique of the irony to apocalypse the existence of his personal prejudice against the defendant. After completing his task, he shows his sympathetic character and supports the worried opponent. Based on Moscovici (1976) and his 5 Aspects juror8 is loyal to his beliefs(Consistency), responsible for his acts(Autonomy), flexible whenever it is appropriate(Rigidity), risky in the first secret vote(Investment) and willing to bring justice(Fairness).
The impact of this movie in our modern times is initially proved by the fact that after so many years it is still being taught in courses not only in Law schools but also in Business and Psychology schools. Definitions like brainstorming, social loafing, diversity, team-working, biases and preconceptions, attribution, personality, leader’s abilities, democratic voting and many others are part of any organization nowadays. This movie is the omen for the evolutionary development of a team structure, a team-worker’s behavior and a leader’s characteristics. References Atkinson G. 1990 “Negotiate the best deal” Director Books, Cambridge Barkan, Steven E. , & Steven Cohn, 1994, ‘‘Racial Prejudice and Support for the Death Penalty by Whites’’ in “Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency” pp. 202–209 Buchanan A. David & Huczynski A. Andrej, 2010, “Organizational Behaviour”, seventh edition, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow Cialdini R. B. , 1993 “The psychology of persuasion”, Quill William Morrow, New York Ellsworth C. Phoebe, 1989, “Are Twelve Heads Better Than One? ” in “Law and Contemporary Problems”, Duke University School of Law Fisher R. & Ury W. 1981 “Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without gining in” Penguin, New York Flouri Eirini & Fitsakis Yiannis, Oct 2007, “Minority Matters: 12 Angry Men as a Case study of a successful Negotiation against the odds” in “Negotitation Journal” pp. 449-461 Hackley Susan, 2007 “One Reasonable and Inquiring Man:12 Angry Men as a Negotiation-Teaching Tool” in “Negotiation Journal” pp. 463-468 Hall & M. Eisenstein (Eds. ), 1980, “Voir Dire and jury selection”, Clark. B. M. , in “Criminal Defense Techniques”, New York: Mathew Bender Hay B. L. 2007 “Fiftieth anniversary 12 Angry Men” Kent-Law Review 82(3) Chicago Heuer L. Penrodt St. , Sep. 1988, “Increasing Jurors’ Participation in Trials A Field Experiment with Jury Notetaking and Question Asking” in “Law and Human Behaviour” Vol. 12 No. 3 Janis I. , 1972 “Victims of groupthink” MA: Houghton Mifflin, Oxford Kaplan M. , Jones & Christopher S. , 2003 “The Effects of Racially Stereotypical Crimes on Juror Decision-Making and Information –Processing Strategies” in “Basic and Applied Social Psychology” pp. 1-13 Kew J. & Stredwick J. , 2010, “Human Resource Management in a business context”, CIPD, London Martin R. , 1992 “Bargaining Power” Clarendon Press, Oxford
Moscovici S. , 1976 “Social influence and social change” Academic, London Nietzelt T. Michael & Dillehayt C. Ronald, 1982, “The Effects of Variations in Voir Dire Procedures in Capital Murder Trials”, in “Law and Human Behaviour” Vol. 6 No. 1 Rojot J. , 1991 “Negotiatation: From theory to practice” Macmillan, London Scheepers, Daan, et al, 2006, ‘‘Diversity in In-Group Bias: Structural Factors, Situational Features, and Social Functions,’’ in “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” pp. 944–960 Weber M. , 1947 The theory of social and economic organization” Oxford University Press, New York

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