Malcolm Gladwell has a popular article called "The Social Life of Paper". It argues in part that some of the most effective people are those whose "messy" desks are actually well-structured for finding information. Or rather, much of the knowledge work we do today is better supported by piles than files.
Yesterday Scripps Howard reported that a study by Pendaflex shows that the way people manage their desktop paperwork correlates with certain sociological or behavioral patterns. One interesting result: the messier the desk, the more education the person is likely to have. I don't know if "messier" is used in the underlying study; I'm using it as a placeholder for a pile-oriented desk versus a file-oriented desk.