Victor mentions the 4 characteristics of "wise" crowds from James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds.
It strikes me that, "wise" crowds, even if they are hierarchical, have effective information circulation amongst team members of all authority levels. Maybe "wise" refers to an enlightened ability to limit the amount of personal spin put on the information, or, instead, "filtering" information effectively no matter what direction it's headed.
This filtering sounds much like what IAs do.
I propose that information flow, in most organizations, acts much like an clogged artery - some of the passages are working just fine. As blocks forms and grows, the other parts of the system must work harder to pump the same amount of blood. Couple this with the crush of information that the modern workplace must synthesize with this interference, and the effectiveness of the entire system suffers, possibly with terrible consequences.
IA can help avoid both of these situations by providing some insight into where the blocks are forming, how to circumvent them, and lead the exercises that increase the vessels ability to pump the blood.
Better, Stronger, Faster.
Karl Fast suggests the book Complexity by Mitchell Waldrop. Can't wait to dig into complexity theory.