Reflection on the Movie 12 Angry Men

Paper Type:  Movie review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1138 Words
Date:  2022-03-25

Introduction

The movie 12 angry men set an excellent example of group decision making. It is a film about 12 men who constitute a jury that is tasked with the responsibility of determining whether the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder or not. The defendant is an 18-year-old boy who is the primary suspect in the murder of his father and the 12 men are gathered in a room to vote on the verdict. The problems that the movie presents are quite similar to those faced in organizational behavior as the jury represents an organization whose goal is to agree on a contentious issue. As discussed in class, different characters respond differently to adversity when trying to make a decision. This jury is made up of a diverse group of people, each with their thinking processes that influence how they make interact with the rest. I believe that the results of this first vote demonstrated the effects of group pressure since it was conducted openly. People in a group tend to do things that they do not necessarily understand or agree with just to fit in with the rest of the group, as we have discussed in class. It was quite easy for the jurors to give the guilty verdict in an open poll, but one juror had the guts to express their honest opinion without the fear of being judged. Once the group conducted a secret vote, the vote changed to 10 to 2 in favor of guilty. It is clear that group pressure (Review, 2011) had a bearing on the first vote as there was one judge who had wanted to vote not guilty but due to the public vote he had voted guilty just to fit in.

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Advocacy and inquiry are two key communication factors that affect decision-making at a personal, interpersonal, or group level. Advocacy means stating one's views, whereas inquiry means asking questions. In the movie, unlike the others, Davies ponders upon his decision, choosing to talk through and understand all the arguments and to understand others' points of view. He makes use of powerful advocacy and inquiry skills and avoids making assumptions. He encourages open discussion "we want to hear your arguments" and reassures the other jurors of his genuineness for truth and understanding. In the beginning, things were much more organized and the mediator had chosen to have the group vote first then follow it up with a discussion. Each member was allowed to talk for a maximum of two minutes, which was enough to express everyone's opinion. The mediator's choice was a smart tactic that can be coupled with the decision-making process discussed in class. Once the problem had been identified, each member of the committee had the option of taking the programmed or non-programmed decision-making route (Twelve_Angry_Men_An_Analysis_of_Group_Ef, n.d.). The discussion, which was prompted after everyone had the chance to air out their opinion, gave room for the team to question what jurors presented and have a better look at the facts. This, in turn, led to logical reasoning avoiding the tragedy of programmed decision making. Non-programmed decision making resulted in members questioning their initial decision and make a more informed decision before returning their final verdict of guilty or not guilty.

One thing that stood out for me in this movie was the diverse nature of the composition of the jury. As seen in the movie, there was an old architect, a middle-aged watchmaker, and a man brought up in the slums. The varied backgrounds and mental setups influenced the way every member made decisions. It is not possible to make decisions devoid of bias since there are factors that predispose people to a certain level of cognitive bias, which affects everyone and the jury was no exception (Making_Decisions (1), n.d.). Among the factors that influence decision making except the facts include the recency effect. This is a concept which states that people weigh recent events more that earlier ones (Review, 2011), which contributes to how one perceives the situation at hand. This effect is clearly seen in the case of jury member number 3 who had in the recent past had an intimate moment with his son. This member voted not guilty, a decision that could be said to have been influenced by the recency effect since he was clearly emotionally compromised and could have been more sensitive to a father's death.

The other factors that go into decision making besides just the facts can be grouped into two different categories of faulty attribution; internal and external (Tindale & Winget, 2019). As the movie approaches its end, jury member number 10 rants and makes a big deal of people from the slums calling them filthy and violent creatures who have no value for human life and kill each other all the time. This demonstrated the effects of a preconceived attitude which clearly determined how the juror felt about people from a certain geographical location ultimately affecting his ability to make a decision based on facts alone. He yelled and ridiculed the other members and never really made any effort to support his claims with logical arguments. There was also external attribution in the jurors' room which means that the environment had a bearing on the way the group reasoned. The beginning of the movie depicts the day as hot and the members of the jury are sweating and fatigued from the trial. The man who was planning on attending a basketball game had tickets and wanted to get out of the room within the shortest time possible, leading him to vote guilty even though he did not believe the boy was guilty as we later find out. These faulty attributions affect the decision making which could be the determining factor in someone's life.

Conclusion

I am of the opinion that the jury was well comprised and there aren't many things that should have been done differently. The arguments and fights that were seen are normal in a delicate matter such as murder, especially when many people get together to discuss it. The discussion began with a well-structured approach which is admirable but then proceeded to a more liberal kind of conversation. The structured approach (Review, 2011) was good but sometimes a discussion needs to flow naturally so that all ideas and observations are seen and heard. Although it was a messy ordeal, the jury came up with many great points in reaching the verdict. For this reason, I feel that no poor decisions were made and would not recommend any procedures to reduce the risk of poor decisions.

References

Review, H. (2011). Harvard Business Review on Making Smart Decisions. Boston: Perseus Book LLC (Ingram).

Twelve_Angry_Men_An_Analysis_of_Group_Ef. [Ebook].

Making_Decisions (1). [Ebook].

Tindale, R. S., & Winget, J. R. (2019). Group decision-making. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology.

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Reflection on the Movie 12 Angry Men. (2022, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/reflection-on-the-movie-12-angry-men

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