Such a remarkable statement of Immanuel Kant,” one should always treat humanity, whether in oneself or in another, always as an end and never merely as a means. ” In addition, he argued, “the highest good is a good will.” The latter implies that to act from a good will is to act from duty. Kant’s formulation of the Categorical Imperative (CI) has a profound sense that hits every human core of thoughts. It would be necessary to exemplify this matter with the association with his approach in the business world to understand the profoundness of his formulated CI deeply. For example, for a merchant to gain a good reputation he should possess honesty, his act of being honest is not truly moral as for Kant. The merchant’s action is only considered moral if he is motivated morally. The importance of purity of motive is necessary; a true moral act is free from any contamination of self-interest motives.
On the part of the corporation, some people seem to have assumptions that actions have enhanced the results are acts of self-interest. However, for partnerships and other renowned corporations, the case differs. These renowned corporations are deeply obligated to make profits that are based on agreements, obligations to shareholders, and contract with the public legally. Even though Kant is mistaken concerning the pure motivation needs for moral acts, he has more to present in business ethics. The three formulations of the CI such as universality, treating stakeholders as persons, and the firm as a moral community have provided rich agendas for business ethicists.
The second formulation, the fact, which people have freedom or free will; we are able to act with reasons as required by law. People have dignity and valuable; a person cannot use someone just to satisfy his self-interest. To treat people as means does not forbid a commercial transaction. Nobody is used just a means in economic exchange that both parties can benefit. The CI places some limitation on the economic transactions naturally. There is an importance between the distinctions of negative and positive freedom. A negative freedom is from deception and intimidation while a positive freedom is to develop human capability. It implies the development of the rational and moral capabilities of a person.
Lastly, in the third formulation, Kantian approach endorsed several principles in the organization design of business. The firm considers the interest of all the stakeholders in any decision made. The affected stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, employees, the local community, including stockholders are under the rules and policies of the firm. This is to participate and be part of the system before and after the rules and policies are implemented accordingly. The profit-making firms have limitation, but authentic duties are perform well. In addition, a stakeholder’s interests should never take priority in automatic ways, no business inconsistency on rule or practice adoptions with the two formulations of CI and every firm should establish designed procedures to make sure that the relations among stakeholders are administered through justice rules.
The Kantian viewed the organizations as a moral community; the members stand in moral relationships among others. It is created as manners of achievement of goals and shared results in general. Kant has a greatest concerned to the human community to live in harmony. In addition, the economic cooperation provides the foundation for morality consistent with the philosophy of Kant universally.
Bowie, N. E. (2002). Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall .