12 Angry Men & Groupthink Symptoms

Predigest, self-righteousness, and stereotyping are just a few of the negative aspects that I witnessed upon watching the movie “12 Angry Men.” In my pervious blog post, I briefly discussed the plot of the movie and how majority of the men instantly decided the young boy being accused of murder is guilty. As I continued to watch the movie, I observed the arguments made by those in favor of convicting the young boy and found their statements where extremely biased and unfair. In the world of organizational communication, this is an example of groupthink symptoms. Groupthink symptoms are ideas that elicit conformity and discourage creativity or individual responsibility in the process of decision making as a group.

The most obvious symptom I took note of is the act of stereotyping. An argument the occurred from of one the men that favored ‘guilty’ stated that the young boy was obviously guilty of murdering his father, solely based on the fact that the boy grew up from the slums of the city where murder occurs all the time.

I believe the reason why majority of the men first agreed on convicting the young boy, was due to direct pressure on dissidents. This is another groupthink symptom, which states the coercive force that obliges group members to behave and think in similar ways. It seemed to me that the man who greatly was in favor of convicting the young boy the most intimidated the others with his verbal harassment caused the others to conform to his ideas.

Another groupthink symptom I observed were reliance on self-appointed-mind guards. This symptom states contrary information from outside influences was not welcomed in the group. As the only man who believed that young boy was not guilty presented his ideas, the same man who was in favor of sentencing the young boy to death the most continued to disregard all the new information even when presented with supporting evidence.

These are just a few of the groupthink symptoms I have observed. There are many more groupthink symptoms such as Illusion of invulnerability. Illusion of morality, Self-censorship, and Illusion of unanimity that can be seen in the film “12 Angry Men.”

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