Group Dynamics of Theatrical Film 12 Angry Men
April Hord, Joanne Huebner, Laura Morgan and Eunjin Yoo
Virginia Commonwealth University
In Greek mythology, there are the twelve Olympians who are the principal gods of the Pantheon and the apostles of Jesus were twelve. In Oriental philosophy, one of twelve animals is assigned to everyone depending on the year when they are born. The animal represents their personality and propensity which affect their fortune and destiny. The Zodiac signs are also twelve in Western astrology. The viewer can see twelve different personalities or characteristics in the jury in the film ...view middle of the document...
Although there were no assigned member roles, the roles of contributing to the goal and maintaining open communication in 12 Angry Men emerged over time as he jurors’ task and social roles developed.
There are four critical factors of productive teams; leadership, communication, cohesion, and heterogeneity (Bradley & Herbert, 1997). A leader must not only be knowledgeable and positive but also the type of the person who leads people from different functional fields and levels of management. Intra-communication is a crucial action of every team to develop the team’s success. In a four-person group, two people talk more than 70% of the time while in a six-person group, three people do more than 85% of the communication of the team (Levi 2007).
According to Benne and Sheats (1948), an effective and mature team has multi-leadership. They explain team roles and team leadership with new perspectives. Even though individual roles are divided at first, as the team develops, team members will share the leadership and come to be responsible with for the team’s performance together. The leadership in 12 Angry Men is shared by Henry Fonda and Martin Balsam. Martin Balsam, the jury foreman, led the jury as a facilitator, while the practical leader who guided the way was Henry Fonda, a fellow juror. While Henry Fonda and Martine Balsam seem extroverted, they were better communicators as listeners than talkers. When Henry Fonda did not agree with those who thought the defendant was guilty, he wanted to listen more than he wanted to talk or persuade them.
Benne and Sheats (1948) also divide team roles into two categories; task related and socially-related roles. Task related roles include initiator-contributor, information giver, information seeker, opinion giver, opinion seeker, coordinator, energizer, and evaluator/critic.
Task related roles are illustrated throughout the film 12 Angry Men. An initiator/contributor is a person who proposes new ideas or new ways for the group to act. Henry Fonda’s character was the only person who was not sure if the defendant was guilty at first even though everyone thought that he was guilty. He expressed his thoughts carefully and ultimately led the team to change their verdict. The role of information giver is to provide data and facts to aid in decision making. Joseph Sweeney talked about the possibility that an old man’s testimony as a witness could be false and also suggested that a woman who had given an eyewitness testimony had poor eyesight. Jack Klugman knew how to use knives because he was from a slum so he gave the information about an angle of the knife in team communication. Henry Fonda’s character also plays the role of an information seeker by requesting more information about the case before reaching a decision about the defendant’s guilt. He asked for each team member to provide his reasoning for voting guilty to aid him in understanding and drawing his own conclusion. E. G. Marshall was also an...