Business Ethics and Deontology




Business Ethics and Deontology

I have worked in various capacities in different work environments, the most sensitive being the sole human resource personnel, in a small firm, in the town. The position entailed managing the small staff in the company, which included one driver, a housekeeper, a cook, and the receptionist. Other members of staff included the sales personnel and their supervisor. The firm was quite small, and we all reported directly to the manager, who then reported to the CEO. Despite the size of the firm, I faced several challenges in my work. I was in charge of the recruitment and selection process, and I would interview all the applicants whenever we had an opening. At one time, we had an opening for the sales supervisor position, which has a lucrative package. The manager called me to his office and told me to go through all the applications as usual, but he already had a preferred candidate in mind. He was sure to hire that candidate irrespective of the decision I made after the interview process. He proceeded to give me additional information of his preferred applicant. Although I conducted all the interviews, I was uncertain of the decision I was going to make. Most of the people I interviewed had better qualifications compared to the manager’s preferred candidate. I was faced with an ethical problem. I decided to pass the names of the people who were best suited for the position.

Deontological ethics do not consider the consequences of actions, but are based on whether the actions are right or wrong. Doing the right thing does not always produce positive results (Alexander & Moore, 2012). Deontological ethics do not consider the situation the person is facing (Murray et al., 2006). In deciding to proceed with the interview using the normal process, I had decided to do what was right because it had been the right thing to do. I faced the risk of being fired because I went against the manager’s wishes. I also faced the risk of causing tension within the workplace. I did not know what the manager would do if I failed to bid his request. The company had a policy of how the human resource personnel were to handle the selection and recruitment process, and I had adhered to it during my time in the company. During this particular interview, I followed the procedures to the letter, despite the threats, warnings, and recommendations of the manager; although I knew, he would make the final decision. I did not do as the manager had requested because it was wrong. It was favoritism, and it denied the most qualified candidates a chance to get the job position. Moreover, it was against the law.

Kant’s categorical imperative refers to the moral duty based on the rationality of good will. The first conception of the categorical imperative involves a person acting in a manner in which he wills that his actions become universal law (O’Brien, 2006; Murray et al., 2006). I believe that my actions were in line with this formulation. In my case, I opted to follow the firm’s principles of employment practices and not to obey the rules, wishes and demands of the manager. I believe that this would be a very influential and ethical law, and that it can become universal. The second concept of categorical imperative points to the fact that one should act rationally, and treat people with dignity and respect. This means avoiding instances of taking advantage of people or using deception to get what one needs. I believe that I applied the second formulation because I chose to conduct a recruitment exercise, and to do proper interviews. Moreover, I passed the names of the qualified candidates as required. I did not let the applicants go through the exercise in vain, as the manager had suggested. I believed that there was a probability of contacting the CEO and informing her of all that was happening.


Alexander, L., & Moore, M. (2012). Deontological ethics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

Brooks, J. L., & Dunn, P. (2009). Business and professional ethics: For directors, executives & accountants. New York, NY: Cengage Learning

Murray, P., Poole, D., & Jones, G. (2006). Cont. Issues in Mgt and Org Beh. Australia: Cengage Learning

O’Brien, T. (2006). Religious perspectives on business ethics: An anthology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield


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