A Kantian Approach to Business Ethics
This article works out the implications of Kant's three formulations of the categorical imperative for ethical business practice. The business practices endorsed by Kant are also those that organizational theorists believe lead to firm profitability. A manager has a contractual obligation to seek shareholder value. Since a contract is a form of promise, a manager who adopts enlightened business practices in order to seek shareholder value is not in violation of Kant's requirement that all moral actions must be done out of duty. Rather a manager has a perfect duty to seek shareholder value. The article concludes with an examination of Kant's cosmopolitanism for the practice of international business ethics.