The Twelve Angry Men is a film that depicts the trial of a Hispanic young man suspected of murdering his father (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). The young man chose a jury trial, and the film depicts the process by which the jurors reached their decision on the matter (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). Initially, the jurors had the conviction that the young man was guilty but a dissenting idea from one of the jurors titled the tables and prompted the jury to change their mindset and thoroughly scrutinize the facts and evidence adduced in the case (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). The young man opted for a trial by jury and the movie illustrates the manner with which the jurors arrived at their determination about the case (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). Initially, the jurors had the conviction that the young man was guilty but a dissenting idea from one of the jurors titled the tables and prompted the jury to change their mindset and thoroughly scrutinize the facts and evidence adduced in the case (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). The movie provides a typical example of group dynamics. This is the manner with which any group set up is structured, the various ways the group functions and the role each person in the group undertakes.
Group dynamics usually seeks to highlight the process which was employed in reaching a consensual determination. In any group, the members often are drawn from different backgrounds; therefore, they usually have divergent ideologies which need to be accommodated in order to have a meeting of the minds. The jurors in the movie were drawn from divergent social backgrounds, this was very important since they all had distinct ways of looking at the case before them (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). This diversity was particularly important after they had to revisit the facts of the case and analyze the evidence critically. This paper will, therefore, seek to evaluate the elements of group dynamics that were involved in the movie Twelve Angry Men.
There were various elements of group dynamics that were clearly illustrated in the movie. The first one was the efficient utilization of the group resources. The available resources for the group included the time they had and the knowledge they could pool from each other. This was clearly highlighted when juror 8 narrated his personal experiences while living in the slums in a bid to enable the rest of the jury to come to a resolution that the young man was not guilty (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). Juror 8 had experienced the manner with which knife-fights took place while he was in the slums and with this experience he elaborated the manner with which a switch-blade was used (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). Juror 9 recalled that the lady who testified to have seen the accused committing the murder, had indentations from wearing glasses and therefore it was impossible for her to put on her glasses in order to witness the murder yet she was almost sleeping (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). The jury had to discuss the case thoroughly with as much as juror 7 was insisting on hastening the process due to the baseball game that he wanted to attend. They resorted to working until 7 pm and this would also give juror 7 ample time to make for his baseball game (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). The decision that the jury finally settled on was as a result of a careful thought process that involved reliving the scene of the crime using the evidence they had.
Another element that was highlighted with regards to group dynamics involved the consensual manner of coming up with decisions. The members of the group had to unanimously consent to a particular decision. In the movie the first decision of “guilty” was not unanimously agreed upon since one juror felt that he was not sure that the accused was guilty (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). This prompted the jury to comb through evidence and discuss the facts of the case afresh in order to allay or confirm his fears. Fortunately, juror number 8 managed to convince the rest of the jury to change their stand after adducing very credible facts (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957).
The next element about group dynamics involved the manner with which people who held divergent views are frowned upon. Juror 8’s view was seen as a way of frustrating the jury’s process of coming up with determination (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). The request to have a secret ballot led to another person who voted against the guilty vote. Juror 3 was infuriated by this and accused Juror 5 of changing his vote due to the sympathy that he had towards the boy because he also had grown up in the slums (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957).
In the contemporary world, the jury does not require to have a unanimous decision. A majority vote of 10 to 2 can be admitted before the court in the event that the time the jury has been given to deliberate upon a certain matter has lapsed and there is a majority vote.
In conclusion, it is very clear that in order to have an effective group all the views of the people need to be taken into consideration. The fact that a vast majority have settled on a particular idea, does not outrightly mean that they are right. Some of the dissenters in the group might have valid points and therefore the group needs to discuss the various issues they have raised objectively in order to ascertain or disprove their validity.
Fonda, H., Rose, R. (Producers), & Lumet, S. (Director). (1957). 12 Angry Men [Motion
Picture]. USA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.