12 Angry Men: Leadership Essay
12 Angry Men: Leadership
In the movie 12 Angry Men there were two primary examples of leadership. The first was in the beginning of the movie, when the foreman gets everyone together in the room and has them sit down, assigning them each a number. He then proceeds to go over the process and rules they will proceed with, and sets up the initial voting. After the initial voting, he has them go around in a circle one by one to discuss the reasons why they voted the way they did. As the film progresses, the leadership shifts towards man number 8, the one who initially voted not guilty.
He demonstrates behavioral leadership as he begins to give information and supporting arguments of why there could be reasonable doubt to accuse the boy of murder, while staying calm and collected and involving the team members input in the discussion. He begins standing up and persuasively presenting his arguments, winning the team over one by one. Roles: The two men demonstrating leadership within the group were the two who most demonstrated task roles.
The foreman performed task roles when he set up the initial voting and numbering process, and how they would each present one at a time around the circle. Man number 8 played the role of information seeker as he dug deeper into the alleged witness information, questioning the testimony and setting up scenarios to demonstrate that the testimony could have been misleading. He proved over and over again that there was reasonable doubt to the testimony given, as demonstrated when he set up the model of the hallway and walked it like the old man.
He also proved reasonable doubt when he brought up the fact that the woman who had allegedly seen the murder through the el-train had worn glasses, and that she most likely was not wearing glasses in bed when she allegedly looked up and saw the murder occur through the window. There were many social roles performed within the group as well. The foreman acted in the role of keeping everyone in line and in turn when things got a little out of hand.
Men 3 and 10 were both opinion givers, stating strong preferences against the boy, saying things about how boys who grow up in slums are born criminals. Man number 7 was a compromiser when he opted to change his vote to not guilty because he thought it would get them out of the room quicker, as his only concern was getting to his baseball game. Man number 8 played the role of convincer, as he went through each piece of evidence one by one and breaking down the evidence to prove that there could have been reasonable doubt to whether the boy was the murderer or not.
He did this in several ways, such as the presentation of the hallway model and glasses theory discussed in the leadership section, as well as the testimony about the knife that was found, by pulling an identical one out of his pocket and saying he purchased it cheaply two blocks from where the murder took place at a pawn shop. As far as boundary spanning roles, the only boundary spanning that occurred within this group was when man number 8 asked the man outside the room for the evidence of the knife that was used and the model of the apartment that the old man lived in.
There were many participation problems within this group as well. There was constant interruption of one another by just about every man in the room. This interrupted the rules that had been set of each man taking a turn in circle presenting their opinions and the support for their opinions. The group did not foster a safe environment for each member to discuss their opinion either. Whenever one man would raise a question about the possibility of reasonable doubt or change their vote to not guilty there would be an uproar, mostly from men numbers 3 and 10.
Perhaps another reason the group performed so poorly was because there was no relational development within the group. They were there strictly to perform a task, leading to poor team cohesion and lack of trust among one another. Men number 3 and 10 among others also demonstrated aggression, which led to much of the unhealthy conflict put forth within the group. By choosing aggression over cooperation, they put themselves at an automatic disadvantage within the group, as aggression led to a lack of credibility among those who demonstrated it. The group did not share a common goal, which also led to poor performance.
Some team members had alternative motives, such as man number 3 who was showing aggression towards teen boys because of the poor experience he had with his own teenager and man number 7 who wanted to get in and out of the discussion as quickly as possible because he had baseball tickets for that night. The bigotry and grudge against teenage boys prevented men numbers 3 and 10 from being constructive team members and probably should have disqualified them from serving on that jury in the first place. This team dealt with participation problems within the group in a number of ways.
One way was that they began sticking up for each other when one man would become aggressive towards another. The group moved away from man number 10 when he went on his rampage about young boys and how they are all criminals, prompting man number 4 to tell him to shut his mouth and not speak again. Decision Making: The 12 angry men were forced into making a consensus decision because that was the only way they could present a verdict to the judge. They used nominal group technique because their decision making was solely task related and required no social relational development.
They used a democratic voting system and kept re-voting until the vote was unanimous. They mostly used open voting where each member raised their hand but in one instance did use secret voting where they submitted their decisions via ballot. The consensus approach was not very effective for this group at first given how far apart some group members were on their stances, but given the severity of their decision it was definitely the appropriate approach to use. Power & Influence: Man number 8 demonstrated the most different types of power throughout the debate.
He demonstrated informational power at first by providing information about discrepancies in some of the evidence and witness testimony in the case, such as when he brought out the knife he had purchased at a pawn shop near the crime scene for very cheap, demonstrating that it was possible that the knife found at the crime scene was not the one that had belonged to the boy accused of murder. He began to develop referent power as the movie progressed, as one by one he won over the group members until they were all backing him and supporting his case.
The foreman began with legitimate power as he was the head of the group and assigned the men their numbers and set the rules for how the discussion would progress, but quickly lost that power as other men began to break the set rules and become unruly. Man number 5 demonstrated expert power when he showed the men how to properly use a switch blade knife, proving that the shorter boy would not have been able to stab downward into his taller father if he was holding the knife properly.
Man number 6 demonstrated information power about how loud the passing el-trains were because he worked by one for a couple weeks. Therefore his information was able to discredit the old man’s testimony about having heard the boy scream “I’m gonna kill you” from the apartment. Man number 9 demonstrated information power about the woman who had supposedly seen the murder occur when he remembered she had been rubbing marks by her nose, meaning that she wore glasses.
Man number 4 gave credibility to this theory and said that he did not wear glasses to bed and that nobody would, discrediting the women’s claims to have looked up from bed and seen the murder occur through the windows of the passing el-train. Man number 6 demonstrated coercive power towards man number 3 when man number 3 threatened man number 9, telling man number 3 that if he threatened 9 again he would lay him out. Information power proved to be the most effective in this case because the information presented was really the only factor in changing the men’s votes from guilty to not guilty.
Conflict: Task conflict occurred during the decision making process on whether the jury should continue debating the murder or deliver a hung jury verdict. Process conflict occurred when the foreman told man number 10 he could be the leader if he wanted when man number 10 questioned the leadership style of the foreman, to which man number 10 quickly backed down. Another example of process conflict was when man number 8 takes away the tic tac toe game from men numbers 12 and 3, scolding them for playing a game during a serious trial when they should not be taking things lightly.
Relational conflict occurred most often during this movie, such as the conflict between men numbers 10 and 5 when man number 10 made a remark about slums and how he didn’t want any part of those people. Man number 5, who had grown up in a slum, became offended and said “maybe you can still smell the garbage on me. ” Relational conflict also occurred when the men dealt with the bigotry of man number 10 by turning their backs on him, and when man number 4 told him to shut his mouth and not speak again.
The conflict styles of the jurors differed greatly also. Man number 12 displayed avoidance, particularly when he kept talking about his marketing firm and playing tic tac toe with man number 3. Men numbers 2 and 9 displayed accommodation at the beginning, when they were hesitant to raise their hands for the guilty verdict but seemed to do so because everyone else was.
Man number 7 also displayed accommodation when he changed his vote to not guilty later in the movie because he thought it would help get the group out of there faster so he could make his aseball game on time. Men numbers 3 and 10 displayed mostly confrontational conflict style because in order to get their points across they would stand up from the table, yell and scream about their points, and get in the faces and disrespect others who disagreed with them. Man number 8 was the primary one to display collaboration, because he worked well with the other men and the evidence to come to conclusions about the various evidence and testimony presented in the case.
Most of the conflicts in this case were not successfully resolved because of the yelling and bigotry that took place between many of the men. At times even the rather calm men who displayed collaboration such as men 2 and 9 began yelling at the others who had started the unhealthy conflict. The more information that was provided and the more conclusions that the men came to about the evidence, the more healthy the conflict styles became save for those of men 3 and 10, who displayed unhealthy conflict styles until the very end of the movie.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 5 January 2017
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