Movie Critique - Twelve Angry Men

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895 words
University of Richmond
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Organization development (OD) focuses on an organizations effective change and performance. The movie Twelve Angry Men focuses on morality and decision making in line with the criminal justice, which forms part of OD. Twelve jurors were assigned the task to decide an 18-year-old case related to the murder of his father. The film occurred within the confines of a small court room whereby the jury is not allowed out until a decision was reached regarding the case. According to the case, the "decision" reached showed that 12 out of the 12 men agreed with: innocent or guilty. Subsequently, they were informed that the defendant would be innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Arguably, the concept of "reasonable doubt" has been central to the film and has appeared in numerous instances as the men air out their views. Henry Fonda has played a dynamic role of Juror #8" and is the only man who from the start of the film voted that the defendant was "innocent". He has not only opposed the other 11 jurors, but he remains true to his assessment throughout the film. After his vote, he is greeted by frustrations and anger from fellow jurors who saw no need of discussing a case they were ready to admit was in a way over the other. Henry Fonda made his initial argument by stating categorically that he wanted to talk about it since after all, they were talking about someone's life. There is a sense of decision making in the film as depicted by Henry Fonda which is fundamental in the human resource sector (Waller, Sohrab & Ma, 2013). Through the creation of reasonable doubt in an organization, each juror was able to find inklings of the doubt and finally made a conclusive decision of not guilty.

The film has depicted transformative leadership theory which involves engagement with others to create a link to raise the motive and morality in both top leadership and the followers. Mohandas Gandhi is one such leader who embraced transformative leadership and changed the lives of so many through the tenants of hope and peace. In line with the film, Juror #8 has embodied the meaning of transformative leadership which is also beneficial in an organization setting. Even though he cannot be compared to Gandhi, he saved the life of this 18-year old through the courage he portrayed and his willingness to make a decision based on his moral values and belief of what is truly right in litigation. The morality aspect of transformative leadership is often tough when it comes to organization leadership since it is extremely hard to try and impact a person's morality on another. This is because of the existing diversity in the human nature and the recognition that we have different degree and composition of personal virtues. For the case of the film, Juror #8 has elevated morality of the other 11 since he interrogated the majority and created an environment that allows members to question their initial assessments of the case in context freshly. His prevailing courage to question and oppose a situation can be utterly intimidating, but the ability to do so is an attractive trait that many leaders may wish to possess. The ability of Human Resource personnel to question and look for what is right is a commanding characteristic of a transformative leader and ought not to be undermined.

The team work element evident in the film relates directly to the environment manifested by the main leader, Juror #8. This teamwork quality has captured the fundamental quality interaction within an organization which encompasses six facets of collaborative process communication, coordination among members, the balance of member contributions, effort, mutual support and cohesion. It has been hypothesized that teamwork is built through transformational leadership and I can't agree more. In the beginning, Juror #8 could be described in social psychology as traditionalist. It is possible that the 11, at a given moment believed in the truth of their judgment that the defendant was guilty. But since it is easier to conform to the majority than stand from the crowd, the decision by Henry Fonda was seen as poor. Subsequently, the quality of cohesion in any collaborative process can be build based on motivation among the members: finishing a case quickly as opposed to proving a high level of thoughtfulness (Adler, Rodman & DuPre, 2016). The brilliance of Henry Fonda in this case as a transformative leader led to a remarkable increase in the teamwork quality which helped the enhanced decision-making process. There was an increased mutual support as Juror #8 allowed various people to air their voices and litigate their views in line with the case, ultimately giving more strength to individuals true feeling. According to this, Juror #9 thought critically and interrogated the witness testimony then recognised that perhaps the man "old man" had no recognition, and no was sought his advice. This critical assessment of the case showcased the environment created earlier by Juror #8.

In a nutshell, leaders in any organization create a culture of collaboration and continuously invest in personal and employee development. Through transformative leadership, they instil in the employees the need to achieve the set goals and objectives and help them reach self-actualization.


Adler, R., Rodman, G. R., & DuPre, A. (2016). Understanding human communication. Oxford University Press.

Waller, M. J., Sohrab, G., & Ma, B. W. (2013). Beyond 12 angry men: Thin-slicing film to illustrate group dynamics. Small Group Research, 44(4), 446-465.

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