On a HR egroup that I moderate someone asked recently if I knew anything about Collective Intelligence.
I had heard of swarm intelligence and discovered that collective intelligence is something similar to it.
As one can see collective intelligence is an emerging field of study, but the crux is that parts of the whole acting out of their intelligence demonstrate that the larger system acts intelligently as well.
What implications does it have for organizations. Well, I did my dissertation during my MBA on something similar - Chaos Theory - which also similarly stated that a self-organizing system which follows few very basic 'rules' can respond to complex situations.
In fact Dee Hock, who was chairman of Visa International and the systems he introduced there he is now seeks to replicate through a group called "chaordic commons"
Hock has been active in developing new models of social and business organization. He has been particularly interested in forms of organization that are neither rigidly controlled nor anarchic, a hybrid form of consensus decision-making he terms chaordic, and is author of a book on the subject, Birth of the Chaordic Age.