Here's a brief introduction to "swarm theory" -- the notion that collective decision-making and team self-management produces more intelligent decisions than command and control structures.
from Ken Thompson's Bumble Bee blog:
Nature's teams, such as ants, geese, dolphins and microscopic life forms are exceptionally agile. They are able to react and adapt quickly to unexpected threats and opportunities. Their collective behavior is so smart that it has spawned a new scientific discipline called swarm intelligence. They achieve all this through self-management and without any centralised leadership or command and control structures and by communicating information and not orders. This article suggests that organisational teams who can incorporate the “stop controlling” principle into their operations can achieve huge gains in agility and collective intelligence.
A major characteristic of biological teams is self-management. This means that these teams don’t issue orders. Orders require too much intelligence to assemble and disassemble. This destroys the teams ability for instantaneous response. Therefore nature’s team members take responsibility for constantly monitoring their environments and broadcasting important team intelligence for the other members to assess and act on. This article introduces the biological background to team intelligence and suggests how it can be implemented in organisational teams.
see the rest of the article here
I picked this up at Momentum, an e-magazine/blog on global issues w a Christian worldview. On the left column there are several other "swarming" links.