Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Deborah C Poff, Alex C. Michalos


  • Deborah C. PoffEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_399-1



Deontology is a moral theory developed by Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Deontology stipulates that what is morally good are moral maxims or moral rules that are capable of being rationality intuited, are universalizable and are true, and, to be followed through duty, are independent of the consequences of following the moral maxims.

Deontological Theory

Deontology is one of key theoretical moral theories that guide not only traditional Western moral theory but also influence the contemporary discussions and debates in business and professional ethics (see Virtue Ethics and Utilitarianism for alternative key moral theories). Immanuel Kant, the father of deontology, was a moral absolutist. He believed that moral maxims or ethical rules were rationally intuited as principled value statements that were recognizable by virtue of the universalizability of such maxims or rules. The most fundamental of these is the...

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  1. Friedman M (2005) The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. Reprinted in Business Ethics in Canada edited by Deborah Poff, 4th edn. Pearson Prentice Hall, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  2. Kant I (1995) Foundations of the metaphysics of morals, translated by Lewis White Beck in Ethics for Modern Life, edited by R Abelson and ML Friquegnon. St. Martin’s Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OttawaCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Deborah C. Poff
    • 1
  1. 1.Leading with IntegrityOttawaCanada