12 Angry Men: Communication Styles
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The start of the film introduces us to the foreman, who in this situation, acts as the leader and/or ‘boss’. Although everyone are equal, it becomes clear throughout the film just how much he developed into becoming a respected authority in his position. Communication plays a very important role for the success in any area of life, but especially so in a professional setting such as this. It fosters a clear picture of what the actions and goals are, by communicating the issues and key activities needed to address these issues. We discuss the three main communication styles: Aggressive, passive and assertive.
All three styles are present in the film, as one can expect by the presence of all the different personalities of the jury. Aggressive communication is characterized by being harsh, sarcastic, ‘always right’ and being disrespectful, and is highly used by #3 and #10. To an extent juror #7 also exhibit it. A very powerful scene showing aggressive communication plays out during the prejudiced rant of Juror #10, when he has an outburst of rage towards those born and living in the ghetto, claiming that they are all liars and criminals.
He comes across as very narrow and emotion-less, other than aggression, and has a powerful upright stance in making himself bigger with his shoulders out. Juror #3 also utilises this style of communication. He spends a majority of the movie yelling, angry, and refusing to listen to others’ reasoning. In fact, he is the last one to vote not guilty. He keeps this style until the very end, when he come to the realization that his anger towards the other jurors and defendant is due to his personal conflict with his own son.
The communication style of juror #7 is a very mixed style, but mostly exhibits an aggressive one. He is one of the first to vote guilty, and gets offended when this fact is brought up. He doesn’t care about the proceedings as seen by voting guilty, but being one of the first to change it to not guilty for unethical reasons. He states that “Let’s break it up and go home. I’m changing my vote to not guilty. ” He exhibits the emotionless behaviour of an aggressive communication style. The consequences of the communication is that it creates a lot of enemies by upsetting oneself and others.
It creates anger, and in the end only results in resentfulness. Passive communications lies just on the other side of the communication scale. It is characterised by being compliant and submissive. Individuals who utilise this style are prone to put themselves down and praise others. In a newly formed group setting with problem-solving as the objective, it is to be expected that a substantial amount of individuals will exhibit this style to keep a low profile. Juror #2, #5, and #12 are passive. Juror #2 is a very shy individual who takes a while before he joins the discussion.
His passive style is clear during the scene where Juror #3 gets in his face about the defendants lawyers ‘idiotic’ remarks, and its clear that he disagrees. In the end he can simply muster up the word, “Well…I guess…they’re entitled”. Examples such as this are present throughout the film, until he decides to empower his voice and identify a key point in the case. He starts the argument of the stab wound, and how it doesn’t seem probable. Juror #5 had a lot of development throughout the film, but started of as exhibiting a very neutral stance, not really wanting to participate or expressing his opinion.
Until he is provoked by juror #3’s bigotry and prejudice, whereby he almost completely switches to an assertive communication style. The communication style of juror #12 is again also a mixed style, showing mostly passive communication. Throughout most of the proceedings he doesn’t have much input in the participation, as well as his body language strengthening his passiveness. He is very slouched down in his seat, with his head hanging down as if he doesn’t care very much. He does however give his opinion throughout the film, but they have very little substance to them.
This could be due to him lacking the forcefulness in expressing himself. The consequences of this communication style is that the individuals give in to others with their self-critical thoughts, leading to a more miserable atmosphere. The other jurors are shown to mostly exhibit assertive behaviour, which is important to the, in the end, effective problem-solving power of this group. (2,5,12,3,10,7). The foreman has been assigned to keep the group under control, as can be seen by his soft-spoken demeanour, willing to assert himself when needed.
He exhibits the characteristics of an assertive communication style, by being confident; keeping eye contact; as well as having a strong voice. Its shown where the jury has multiple outbursts and he at one point states: “Now please, I don’t want any fights in here. ” Juror #4 has an assertive communication style, probably due to his believes that evidence should determine the verdict, and not personal bias. He at one point says to juror #10 that “Now, sit down and don’t open your mouth. ” Although this may seem aggressive, its in response to a racist rant.
He changes his verdict in the end, not because he wants to leave or due to pressure, but because he considered the facts. Arguable the most assertive communication is that of juror #8. He has a very calm demeanour at the start, but shows even more assertiveness in complaining about the prejudiced jurors. As seen when he calls out Juror #3 by stating that “You want to see the boy die because you personally want it-not because of the facts. ” He shows a very persuasive and firm communication style, while still being respectful. The second person to vote not guilty is juror #9. He listens to everyone and give constructive criticism and opinions.
His actions and expressions fit his words spoken. In the end, his assertive style may have changed the other jurors opinions and vote, by stating that he is an old and sometimes forgetful man due to his age, and that the elderly witness during the case may have made up part of his testimony. Lastly we look at the assertive style of juror #9, who portrays the most polite communication style. He states that they should not make it a personal thing, but to remember that it’s a democracy. This just shows his willingness to stand up for what he believes is right, and take on those who unethical.