Michael, I'm not entirely sure I understand your question here.
In my way of thinking, I do not think of a team as a system-- except for
the dynamic of interpersonal relationships it contains. That dynamic, as
though it were a single personality, interacts with the activities of the
team in a systemic way. In this sense, the team leader cannot be both in
the team and in its environment. To the extent that the leader can
abstract herself from the team (as part of her relationship with the
larger organization), that is merely an attribute of her part of the team
dynamic, and it represents power within the team.
Now, if we were to examine the functioning of the team in its environment
by trying to discern how the outputs of the team impact other things and
are in turn impacted by the changes they create, the role of the team
leader and her relationship to the external environment might be critical
data for understanding the system - and we might actually come to
different conclusions if we looked at her only as team participant, or
only as external to the actions of the team, but of course neither is the
Perhaps I'm being obtuse here. I find myself *arguing* as I try to
understand, so I wonder if I am really trying to understand. I'm clearly
missing something in the way you see it, but I can't wrap my mind around
it. It's somewhere in the description... "we can only see what we can
Please help me, Michael (or anyone else who can see around us). I want
very much to grasp this sense you seem to have that knowledge will emerge
from careful distinctions, which I experience only as (please forgive the
unintended pejorative overtones) hairsplitting...
>Jack, let't try this in the context of a team within an organisation.
>Can we distinguish the team as a a system and the larger organisation
>as a system which forms the environment of that team?
>If so, then is the manager of the team part of the system of the team
>or part of the environment of the team? Might it be useful to say
>that there is another system as well which is "team" and "team with
>manager" which are both in and part of the larger system
>My point is that each of this is a distinct phenomenon. The value in
>the distinction is to see that each operates, *at least in some
>ways*, independently of the other while also seeing that all exist
>concurrently and the actions of each "system" impact the other
>I agree with you that if we fail to see that we are part of larger
>systems and have environments which are systems that we are both
>influencing and being influenced by, we will make serious and
-- Jack Hirschfeld With the clear undertanding that firstname.lastname@example.org this kind of thing can happen, shall we dance?