Juror 8 As An Informal Leader In Sidney Lumet's Twelve Angry Men

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Twelve Angry Men In “Twelve Angry Men” directed by Sidney Lumet, jurors have to make an important decision on whether the defendant is guilty or not, and their decision making process largely depends on different leaders, they choose at various stages of their discussion. Juror eight, who changes the initial 11 to 1 ratio with the majority of jurors supporting the guilty verdict, is an example of an informal leader. His position is best explained by the Contingency Leadership Theory because it arises from a specific situation, wherein he can perform at a maximum level because he is driven by a reasonable doubt. Juror eight cannot vote in favor of the guilty verdict, yet at the same time, he does not claim that the defendant is guilty, until he is presented with reasonable arguments for either side. He needs further discussion to form an opinion on the case and his wish is the basis for his taking up the leadership position. It is difficult to say, whether juror eight would be appropriate as a leader under different circumstances because he does not show his force of character to the full extent. However, in this particular case, his specific manner of guiding the discussion by asking questions and questioning facts makes him a good leader for such a diverse group of people.
On the contrary, juror one is a formal leader because he is the jury foreman and he performs the maintenance role of an observer. His authority is not enough to restrain and direct others and he needs juror eight to transform a group of differently thinking people with each being driven by a personal motive into a group of actual jurors caring about the case. It is obvious that members of the jury experience certain participation problems. In particular, juror second and juror nine are excluded from group discussions. Juror two is rather shy and it is difficult for him to both express his opinion and defend it. Juror nine is an old man and the rest of the jury does not take him seriously because of his age. These two jurors receive an opportunity to make their voices heard only when juror eight becomes an informal leader of the group. He makes others listen to everybody’s opinion, thus enabling the group to correct existing participation

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