A Deontological Approach to Business Ethics: Beyond Maximization of Profits

By Wataru Asanuma.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In most businesses the model of corporate governance has changed from the shareholder to stakeholder model. There have been implemented new laws and regulations such as the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations (FSGO) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Despite all these efforts, there still remains a tension between business and ethics. The reason will become clear in the light of consequentialism (utilitarianism) and non-consequentialism (deontology) debate in classical ethical theory. One approach to business ethics is that morality is embedded in the success of business. But some unethical behaviors are included in and some moral obligations are excluded from the maximization of profits. The upshot is that in some cases there is a stark contrast between the greatest good and the rights of all individuals. The pursuit of profits relatively easily escapes the observance of the moral obligations and there must be some moral force to prevent business practices from unethical behaviors. But the tenet of Kantian ethics is that deontological ethics is not inclined to formalistic rigorism and heteronomy of will.

Keywords: Business Ethics, Shareholder Model, Stakeholder Model, Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organization (FSGO), Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Consequentialism (utilitarianism), Non-consequentialism (deontology), Cultural Relativism, Kant’s Categorical Imperative

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.245-254. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 614.665KB).

Dr. Wataru Asanuma

Adjunct Professor, Institute for Professional Studies, Organizational Leadership Program, St. Thomas University, Miami, Florida, USA

Wataru Asanuma received a Ph.D. degree in philosophy from Florida State University in 2009. Originally from Japan, he had received his B.A. and M.A. in the same subject from Kyoto University. His main research interest lies in logic and the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of science in general.

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