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Findings — The paper finds that on one side the enterprises' key stakeholders owners and managers are aware of the importance of their ethical behaviour as well as of impact of their ethical behaviour to the enterprises' behaviour.

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Practical implications — This paper gives us some insights as to the state of informal and formal measures of business ethics implementation in Slovenian enterprises. Please note you might not have access to this content. You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.

If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form. Contact us. To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button. Rent from Deepdyve. In your personal and professional relationships? What was that truth? What was sufficient to constitute it? Kant identified an a priori world of knowledge and understanding in which truth lay in the structures and categories of the mind that were beyond perception and reason.


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This was a radical concept for the times. The existence of the mental structures he proposed has even been confirmed today. For instance, the scientific consensus is that humans are born with cognitive structures designed specifically for language acquisition and development.

Business Ethics: A Kantian Perspective

Even more surprising, there may be similar cognitive structures for morality, conscience, and moral decision-making. So, it is quite possible that conscience, if not happiness, may have a genetic component after all, although Kant himself did not believe the categories of the understanding or the a priori structures of the mind were biological.

2. Corporate moral agency

From a Kantian perspective, it is clear that adherence to duty is what builds the framework for ethical acts. Kant rejected the idea of such a calculus and believed, instead, that perceptions were organized into preexisting categories or structures of the mind.

Norman Bowie | Carlson School of Management

Compare his notion of an ordered and purposeful universe of laws with the similar logos , or logic, of the ancient Greeks. One of those laws included implementation of the categorical imperative to act ethically, in accordance with our conscience.

However, even though that imperative ought to be followed without exception, not everyone does so. The word is derived from the Greek deon , meaning duty, and logos again, here meaning organization for the purpose of study. An ethical decision requires us to observe only the rights and duties we owe to others, and, in the context of business, act on the basis of a primary motive to do what is right by all stakeholders. Kant was not concerned with utility or outcome—his was not a system directed toward results.

Norman_E_Bowie_Business_Ethics_.pdf - i Business...

The question for him was not how to attain happiness but how to become worthy of it. Rather like Aristotle and Confucius, Kant taught that the transcendent aspects of human nature, if followed, would lead us inevitably to treat people as ends rather than means. To be moral meant to renounce uninformed dogmatism and rationalism, abide by the categorical imperative, and embrace freedom, moral sense, and even divinity. It could be accomplished by living truthfully or, as we say today, authentically.

Such a feat transcended the logic of both rationalism and empiricism. If we apply conventional reasoning and principles of law to his crime, Valjean genuinely is guilty as charged and we do not need to consider any extenuating circumstances.


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Clearly, Valjean broke the law by stealing the bread. However, he acted morally by correcting a wrong and possibly saving human lives. According to Kantian ethics, Valjean may have been ethical in stealing bread for his family, particularly because the action was grounded in good will and provided benefit to others more than to himself.

Unlike utilitarianism, which forms the philosophical foundation for most cost-benefit analysis in business, Kantian ethics is not so easily applied. He is past president of the Society for Business Ethics and recipient of the Society's award for outstanding scholarly achievement. Business Ethics: A Kantian Perspective. It is more important than ever that a business must be both ethical and profitable. In this thoroughly revised and updated second edition, Norman E.

Bowie shows that by applying Kant's three formulations of the categorical imperative, and by doing the right thing for the right reason, a business can achieve success in both of these fields. Bowie uses examples such as building trust, transparency through open book management, and respecting employees by providing a living wage and meaningful work.