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12 Angry Men: A Discourse on the Persuasion of the Minority (Essay Sample)


This assignment builds on the movie you watched last week and ask questions about this week's content in light of leadership and power.
Twelve Angry Men (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
If you encounter problems while viewing the video, refer to the Textbook, Technology, and Resources page of this course.
Reflecting on the jurors in the film, answer the following:
Where does one get power?
Personal Characteristics
Opportunity to control information
Bases of power
Coercive Power
Reward Power
Legitimate Power
Expert Power
Referent Power
Below are summary descriptions of the twelve jurors.
The Twelve Jurors:
Juror #1 (Foreman): A high-school assistant head coach, doggedly concerned to keep the proceedings formal and maintain authority; easily frustrated and sensitive when someone objects to his control; inadequate for the job as foreman, not a natural leader and over-shadowed by Juror # 8's natural leadership.
Juror #2: A wimpy, balding bank clerk/teller, easily persuaded, meek, hesitant, goes along with the majority, eagerly offers cough drops to other men during tense times of argument; better memory than # 4 about film title.
Juror #3: ) Runs a messenger service (the "Beck and Call" Company), a bullying, rude and husky man, extremely opinionated and biased, completely intolerant, forceful and loud-mouthed, temperamental and vengeful; estrangement from his own teenage son causes him to be hateful and hostile toward all young people (and the defendant); arrogant, quick-angered, quick-to-convict, and defiant until the very end.
Juror #4: Well-educated, smug and conceited, well-dressed stockbroker, presumably wealthy; studious, methodical, possesses an incredible recall and grasp of the facts of the case; dispassionate, cool-headed and rational, yet stuffy and prim; often displays a stern glare; treats the case like a puzzle to be deductively solved rather than as a case that may send the defendant to death; claims that he never sweats.
Juror #5: Naive, insecure, frightened, reserved; grew up in a poor Jewish urban neighborhood and the case resurrected in his mind that slum-dwelling upbringing; a guilty vote would distance him from his past; nicknamed "Baltimore" by Juror # 7 because of his support of the Orioles.
Juror #6: A typical "working man," dull-witted, experiences difficulty in making up his own mind, a follower; probably a manual laborer or painter; respectful of older juror and willing to back up his words with fists.
Juror #7: Clownish, impatient salesman (of marmalade the previous year), a flashy dresser, gum-chewing, obsessed baseball fan who wants to leave as soon as possible to attend evening game; throws wadded up paper balls at the fan; uses baseball metaphors and references throughout all his statements (he tells the foreman to "stay in there and pitch"); lacks complete human concern for the defendant and for the immigrant juror; extroverted; keeps up amusing banter and even impersonates James Cagney at one point; votes with the majority.
Juror #8: An architect, instigates a thoughtful reconsideration of the case against the accused; symbolically clad in white; a liberal-minded, patient truth-and-justice seeker who uses soft-spoken, calm logical reasoning; balanced, decent, courageous, well-spoken and concerned; considered a do-gooder (who is just wasting others' time) by some of the prejudiced jurors; named Davis.
Juror #9: Eldest man in group, white-haired, thin, retiring and resigned to death but has a resurgence of life during deliberations; soft-spoken but perceptive, fair-minded; named McCardle.
Juror #10: A garage owner, who simmers with anger, bitterness, racist bigotry; nasty, repellent, intolerant, reactionary and accusative; segregates the world into 'us' and 'them'; needs the support of others to reinforce his manic rants.


12 Angry Men: A Discourse on the Persuasion of the Minority
12 Angry Men: A Discourse on the Persuasion of the Minority
The film 12 Angry Men (1957) is anchored to the group dynamics of the twelve men composing the jury. In order to understand these acts, it is essential to utilize the perspective of the group thinking theory in relation to the showcase of power. In detail, group thinking theory focuses on how a group of people functions as a unanimous organ and how members of a group may decide differently, individually and collectively (Hart, 1991). Further, this theory also highlights how people who are a part of the group tend to just go with the flow or conform to the majority instead of actively participating in a group's decision making process (Hart, 1991). In the film, as the jury, the twelve men need to come to a consensus whether they will give the defendant a verdict of guilty or not. This aspect of decision making then illustrates how the jury unifies towards one goal. In the context of the group thinking, the jury, in the earlier parts of the film, is seen to be susceptible to conforming, because there is a desire to hasten the process. This highlights the presence of indifference and detachment of the issue being faced by the jury, yet this is changed by Juror 8 when he comes forward with a different stand from the rest. Through Juror 8's position, the group then comes to terms with the need to manage the present conflict, thus creating a majority and minority which eventually switch sides. In analyzing how 12 Angry Men portrays group think, it is important to see how there is one focal point that triggers it, and this is Juror 7. This specific juror seems to have no motivation to have a significant part in the group. He is seen not to give any value to the problem solving process of the jury, especially towards the end of the film when he switches to the verdict of not guilty for the sake of just finishing the decision. Through Juror 7's personal and subjective constraints, the whole group becomes vulnerable to the group think, which is only resolved when all other jurors (expect Juror 7 and 8) come to terms with flaws in their individual decisions.
The Majority Group and Compliance-Gaining Methods
Of the twelve men, eleven voted guilty, and primarily, they composed the majority. As Juror 8th presents his decision of not guilty and other jurors join him, the majority group utilizes several compliance-gaining methods. This includes a version of stimulation which is a tactic also known as simply making others feel comfortable in order to amplify the validity of a point or a decision (Marwell& Schmitt, 1967). Juror 3 showcases this by establishing an atmosphere of discomfort to sway the dissenters from the majority's decision. This tactic is not effective for it only encourages the minority to pursue an intensive problem solving process. Another method utilized by the majority is positive expertise which also inevitably fails. This tactic is seen in how the jurors' part of the majority opens up the details

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