The Jury Room
Arizona State University
The Jury Room
12 Angry Men is a movie about one of the most interesting kinds of group conflicts that can occur in many societies today. That is the small group conflict that occurs in the jury room when a jury of six or twelve jurors is given the task of making a decision as to the facts that were presented to them. Twelve people that all see the same evidence presented but that can have very different interpretations of the same set of facts. Largely based on the differing interpretations the group goes through many different conflict senarios. In order to better understand small group communication in the jury room analyzing the four types of conflicts that can arise and then discussing a number of handling styles can prove very enlightening.
Scott Myers and Carolyn Anderson break group conflict down into four different types in their book The Fundamentals of Small Group Communication. The four types of conflicts that arise when a small group is interacting are substantive, affective, procedural, and inequity. These types of conflicts are very evident in 12 Angry Men. These types of conflicts often move quickly from one to the next and an entire book could be written on the analysis of the different conflicts that occur during the course of the deliberation.
Substantive conflict is when the group members critical evaluation of ideas cause conflict which is often over a fact of interpretation or de...