12 Angry Men | Reflections

12 Angry Men. 1957 [NR]


12 Angry Men is a dramatic depiction of a jury whose deliberations about a murder case set the stage for a variety of group dynamics and realities that emerge out of the human spirit. In addition to the heart-wrenching display of how a human system is susceptible to the inadequacies and deficiencies that are innate in our species, this film also illustrates how good leadership can transform a group of people from ignoble purposes, to a higher call. Though the setting for this movie was a judicial case involving a possible death sentence for an 18-year-old, not all group decisions have this same weight. However, the vast majority of the decisions made by groups in organizations across the world are deeply significant and have real human outcomes of which they should be invested.

Questions to consider:

1. What causes certainty in the opinions and perspectives of people? What are the strengths and weakness of this phenomenon?

2. How do psychological or existential factors influence someone’s view of reality? How does one address those assumptions effectively?

3. What role does “power” play in negotiations and groups?

4. What strategies are most effective at helping people see what they cannot see?

5. What dynamics are different when an individual considers a dilemma vs. a group? What are the strengths and weaknesses of both?

6. What are the common blind spots of people’s formation of opinions? How can we overcome those?

7. Why is it important to ask these (and other) questions when it comes to human systems?

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