Haworth College of Business News

Endowment established for support Entrepreneur Center in honor of Professor K. C. O’Shaughnessy

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 during an organized cycling event on July 19 in Ada Township, Mich. He was 50.

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 serves as a clearinghouse for ideas on entrepreneurial studies. He also had developed a new student organization, the Entrepreneurship Club, as a vehicle for exploring internships with growing firms, participating in 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, Mich. from 1987-89 and General Foods from 1986-87.