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An Examination of the Team Development Stages in the Movie 12 Angry Men

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12 Angry Men: Team Development Stages

Team development is a crucial aspect of any group setting and consists of six stages: stage one – forming, stage two – storming, stage three – norming, stage four – performing, and stage five – adjourning (or deforming). In the movie 12 Angry Men, the 12 jury members go through these stages at various points of the deliberation; this paper will serve to explore how and when the jury went through the stages of team development.


The movie starts out with our group already been formed, as they were selected to be part of the jury; they really begin the team development process at the beginning of the deliberation, as the jury members all sit down and define what their goals and obligations are, saying that if the defendant is found guilty, they must send him to the electric chair. The forming stage continues as jury members start falling into their respective roles; the members find out that juror 3 and juror 10 are alpha type males, that juror 8 takes his civic duty seriously, but has some biased views (he is just a youth, how could he commit such a crime?), and general introductions from members of the group.


The storming stage follows the forming stage, and starts after the jury’s first round of guilty/not guilty voting; the storming stage is set off by juror 8’s not guilty vote, which is the first and only difference among the group at the time. The storming stage is furthered by the jury member’s perception of civic duty, and ignited to another level when juror 8 is attempting to make a case, while some of his fellow jury members are playing games and goofing off. In the storming stage the alpha males of the group try to insert and enforce their brand of “leadership” through verbal force and intimidation, such as Juror 3 cutting off other jurors during the initial deliberation, telling the group that they are going to skip the set speaking rotation. This struggle of power, juror 3’s intimidation technique versus juror 8’s logical argument technique, continues throughout the story.


The norming stage starts when juror 8 starts making his arguments for a not guilty verdict, while persuading others to his side; it is also the stage that lasts the longest throughout the deliberation and takes place in non-connected stages. Once there are a few jurors on the not guilty side of the verdict, open discussion becomes much freer flowing and direct; the jury members start having an actual debate about the facts of the case and whether they could be debated. The discussion, and norming stage, really takes off when juror 8 slams the similar knife into the table; before this the discussion was fairly closed off, with most of the other jury members saying that there was no way the kid was not guilty.


The performing stage gradually takes over from the norming stage as more solid arguments are made in favor of the defendant being not guilty. Juror by juror realizes that they may have indeed been so close to sending a potentially innocent person to jail, and feel further obligated to explore the facts in order to render a fair verdict. Jury members put together their individual experiences and knowledge in order to help each other come to a not guilty verdict, such as Juror 8 trying to recreate the witness who had to walk to his door with a limp, or questioning Juror 4 about his week in order to establish that memory can be fuzzy. The final sense of civic obligation come when Juror 9 notices Juror 4 rubbing his nose, making the final argument about one of the witnesses not using her glasses regularly.


The adjourning stage is the stage where the team evaluates its processes and performance, disbanding on either a temporary or permanent basis; the jury members do not disband on a temporary process, and any breaks are portrayed as short breathers, therefore the focus will be on the disbanding of the jury upon rendering a not guilty verdict. The movie does not go into too much detail about the aftermath of the team’s decision, but the audience could tell through the interactions of Juror 8 with Jurors 3 and 9 that the process took place in the manner it should have, and that the team was happy with their process and performance.

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