People and team systems do not exist in isolation and do not function in isolation; they are part of larger systems involving many complex relationships. Remember to set and examine the appropriate context as you perform your team system analysis. This allows you to start to make seemingly unrelated associations that can result in practical solutions. Unrelated associations are syntopical in nature and are often linked directly to real-world ideal solutions.

  • SYNTOPICAL – Viewing a system as the whole and parts of its component interrelationships.

A potentially confusing aspect of the role, system, supersystem model is that those definitions are meant to be relatively fluid depending on what perspective is focused upon inside a hierarchy. 

At an aggregate market level, for illustration, a company like IBM could be considered a vender (role) inside the global technology market (system) that is part of the global economy (supersystem ). 

  • ROLE – A function within a system; a person or team that is part of a system.
  • SYSTEM/TEAM SYSTEM - A unified interrelated group of roles; roles organized to produce material output.
  • SUPERSYSTEM – A system that is made up of systems; an interrelated group of systems able to produce aggregate material outputs.

Moving down the hierarchy to inside IBM, hardware acceleration could be a role within the research & development division, making the definitions role = hardware acceleration, system = R&D, supersystem = IBM. 

At a lower level there could be the role of hardware engineer (role) on the infrastructure research team (system) within the hardware acceleration department (supersystem ).