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Kenneth 'K.C.' O'Shaughnessy

by Mark Schwerin

Aug. 3, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Dr. Kenneth K.C. O'Shaughnessy, WMU.
Funeral services for O'Shaughnessy are Friday
Dr. Kenneth "K.C." O'Shaughnessy, a longtime professor of management at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business, died Monday, Aug. 1, from injuries suffered in a biking accident July 19 in Ada Township. He was 50.

O'Shaughnessy, an avid cyclist, was taking part in a weekly ride with a group of about 40 riders July 19, when he was struck by a pickup truck. State police say another cyclist had initially crashed, causing a chain reaction of swerving riders, and O'Shaughnessy veered into the path of the Ford F-150 truck. The truck's driver was not charged in the accident.

O'Shaughnessy suffered severe head trauma and had been on life support at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital following the accident.

O'Shaughnessy, a frequent source in newspaper and magazine articles, was regarded as an expert on pay-for-performance systems, layoffs, the impact of downsizing, corporate executive salaries and "golden parachute" provisions in executive contracts. His research included a study of Major League Baseball's free agent salaries as well as the supply and demand for skills.

O'Shaughnessy was director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which served as a clearinghouse for ideas on entrepreneurial studies. He also had developed a new student organization, the Entrepreneurship Club, to explore internships with growing firms, mentorships with successful entrepreneurs and taking part in competitions, while learning the skills needed to start a business.

His recent research projects included an analysis of change in the skills of white-collar employees and an analysis of the relationship between middle-management compensation and the financial performance of firms. He also was involved in the Wharton Financial Institutions Center study of productivity issues in the life insurance industry.

He earned a bachelor's degree in geological engineering in 1983 from the University of Arizona, a master's in business administration in finance in 1986 from Indiana University and a doctoral degree in management in 1994 from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

O'Shaughnessy joined the WMU faculty in 1994 and taught at the University's regional location in Grand Rapids. He taught strategic management, human resource management and managing change. He previously had been a research assistant at the Wharton School and a financial analyst for Dow Corning Corp. in Midland from 1987-89 and General Foods from 1986-87.

Visitation is planned for 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at O'Brien Eggebeen Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Road, SE, Grand Rapids. The funeral service is at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 47 Jefferson SE, Grand Rapids.

Memorial contributions may be made to:

K.C. O'Shaughnessy Entrepreneurship Endowment
Western Michigan University Foundation
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5403