Call for Papers: Disruptive Forces on Shareholders and/or Boards

BlackRockNACDlogoBlackRock (NYSE:BLK) and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) have issued a call for papers that address global governance challenges. Academics and governance practitioners are invited to submit original papers focused on emerging issues and opportunities likely to impact boardrooms and/or shareholders over the next decade.

The corporate governance landscape is evolving, creating a need for directors and governance leaders to prepare now for the challenges and opportunities the next decade will bring.

Papers should focus on the potential risks and opportunities associated with seven global, disruptive forces:

  1. economic,
  2. geopolitical,
  3. competitive,
  4. technological,
  5. social/demographic,
  6. innovation, and
  7. environmental.

These disruptive forces represent the strategic framework of NACD’s Directorship 2020, a multi-year initiative focused on identifying the resources and performance requirements of boards over the next decade.

The second annual global competition will award the authors of the top paper a monetary prize of $5,000 and the opportunity to present the paper at the 2015 NACD Spring Forum to an audience of leading corporate directors and governance experts. For full details of how to enter, visit Said Rich Kushel, deputy COO of BlackRock.

As long-term investors with a vested interest in good corporate governance, BlackRock is pleased to partner with the NACD, directors, and the academic community to encourage research in the field.

2013-2014 marked the inauguration of this global competition. Submissions were received from students and researchers at 37 colleges and universities in 13 countries on six continents. Papers were judged on how effectively the ideas presented could be implemented to enhance corporate governance and responsible investment practices.

The 2014-2015 competition narrows the broader focus of the previous year’s topic and asks entrants to link the seven disruptive forces listed above to their potential impacts on shareholders, corporate boards, or both. According to Ken Daly, president and CEO of NACD,

The corporate governance landscape is evolving, creating a need for directors and governance leaders to prepare now for the challenges and opportunities the next decade will bring. The ideas fostered by this global competition will result in greater connectivity between corporate governance theories and leading practices, benefiting the entire governance community over the long-term.

The submission process is composed of two stages: abstracts and final papers. Abstracts are due by June 1, 2014, to Authors selected to submit a full paper will be notified by July 1, 2014, and final paper submissions are due by Sept. 30, 2014.

Papers must be academically and technically sound, as determined by a panel of leading academics, corporate directors, and corporate governance practitioners. As in the inaugural competition, winners will be selected based on real-world applicability in the boardroom and marketplace. To learn more about the program, visit or submit any questions to

Papers are evaluated across two categories:

  • Academic student submission (currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree program): $5,000
  • Governance practitioner submission (not actively enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree program): $5,000

Evaluation Criteria

  • The intended audience for the papers is the community of corporate directors, executives, and institutional investors. The papers are intended to promote practical application of academic research and theory regarding the relationship between institutional investors and boards of directors on emerging issues facing these constituencies. Winners will be chosen based on the ability to implement the ideas presented into business practice.
  • Key considerations that the evaluation committee will use in their evaluation of the papers include: practicality, usefulness, applicability, materiality, strength in substantiation, innovation, originality, creativity, and academic soundness.
  • Submissions may be sector/industry specific, or general. Please denote if there are sector-specific considerations in your submission.
  • The idea presented may be applicable to all investors, either retail or institutional. If the idea is intended for one particular type of investor, please explain within the paper.
  • Papers should not exceed 10,000 words.
  • Authors shall provide a word count at the end of the paper.
  • Note: Shorter papers are encouraged. The length of the paper is less important than the ability of the ideas being presented to be applied into business practice.

Important Dates

  • Abstract Submission 
    • Abstracts must be submitted on or before June 1, 2014.
    • Abstract requirements: 500-word maximum, include title, author’s(s’) name, contact information, category (undergraduate student, graduate student, or practitioner), and academic affiliation, if applicable.
    • Abstracts should be submitted via e-mail to
  • Abstract Selection
    • The evaluation committee will select the most promising abstracts and notify the authors that they are being requested to submit full papers.
    • Authors will be notified in July 2014.
    • Final papers are due by September 30, 2014, and should be submitted via email to
  • Winning Paper Notification
    • The evaluation committee will recommend winners to the Academic Advisory Council for final review, followed by notifications to the authors.
    • The authors of the winning paper will be notified by January 31, 2015.

Program Evaluation Committee

  • Chair, Myron T. Steele, Partner, Potter, Anderson, and Corroon; former chief justice, Supreme Court of Delaware
  • James P. Hawley, Professor and Director, Elfenworks Center for the Study of Fiduciary Capitalism, Saint Mary’s College of California
  • Reatha Clark King, Director, Allina Hospital Corporation and NACD Board of Directors Chair
  • Ed Merino, Director, NACD, Southern California Chapter
  • Douglas Park, Director, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
  • Andrea Robinson, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, Amgen
  • Chad Spitler, Managing Director, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, BlackRock
  • Bob Zukis, Founder, Saaskwatch Systems, Author, and Speaker

Academic Advisory Council

  • Duke Bristow, University of Southern California
  • Stephen Davis, Harvard University
  • Charles Elson, University of Delaware
  • Joe Grundfest, Stanford University
  • Jay Lorsch, Harvard University
  • Ed Waitzer, York University

» Read the abstract of the 2013 winning paper here.

» Read the 2013 winning paper.

About BlackRock

BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At Dec. 31, 2013, BlackRock’s AUM was $4.324 trillion. BlackRock helps clients meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. Headquartered in New York City, as of Dec. 31, 2013, the firm had approximately 11,400 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at

About NACD

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is the recognized authority focused on advancing exemplary board leadership and establishing leading boardroom practices. Informed by more than 35 years of experience, NACD delivers insights and resources that more than 14,000 corporate director members rely upon to make sound strategic decisions and confidently confront complex business challenges. NACD provides world-class director education programs, national peer exchange forums, and proprietary research to promote director professionalism, ultimately enhancing the economic sustainability of enterprises and bolstering stakeholder confidence. Fostering collaboration among directors, investors, and governance stakeholders, NACD is shaping the future of board leadership. To learn more about NACD, visit To become an NACD member, contact Kelly Dodd at or 202-380-1891.

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