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Utilitarianism and Deontology in Business

The question concerning the connection between law and morality remains to be discussed and argues nowadays. The law and morality can be considered as the fundamental social regulators of the behavior of the human being (Emerson, 2009, p. 5). The society and the way people live and function changed and that is, emerged the need for the implementation of the moral philosophies not only in the sphere of social relationship but also in business strategy and the globalized interaction. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the significance of the implementation of the utilitarian philosophy into the business decision-making process and to stress the drawback of the deontological philosophy for the modern business.

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Utilitarian and Deontological Philosophy in Business

It should be stated that the business ethics can be viewed in two different dimensions, namely the utilitarian and deontological. To get better involved in the issue, the two different philosophical approaches should be taken into account. The main concern of the utilitarian philosophy is that the moral value of the behavior is determined by the consequences the actions will have (Morland, 2011, p. 118). The main idea of the philosophy can be summed up by the words “what is good and moral comes from acts that produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people” (Neelankavil & Rai, 2009, p. 21).

A lot of organizations are guided by this philosophy, especially when they place the industry in the developing countries. Despite the fact that the environment of the host country will be polluted, the decision to establish the plants on the territory of the developing country will be beneficial for both sides. The developing country receives the opportunity to use modern technologies, contribute to the economic development, and provide people with the workplaces, whereas the other country is satisfied with the financial profit. The pivotal objective of every business is to maximize the income by the minimization of the costs; that is, the business decisions aim to reach this goal.

In contrast to the utilitarian philosophy, the deontological one is focused on the action itself, rather than on the consequences (Brooks & Dunn, 2014, p. 166). The actions and decisions are viewed as moral and not moral. In the situation described above, the business decision to establish the plant that pollute the surroundings in the developing country can be considered as not moral, despite the evident benefits for the country’s development and improvement.

The Advantages of the Utilitarian Philosophy in Business

The utilitarian philosophy is more acceptable for the modern business as it can satisfy the needs of the stakeholders, despite the fact that either side may receive less profit. The action is described as the right one when it is beneficial for most people and has positive consequences. The utilitarian approach can be found in every sphere of business. For example, the airlines provide the customers with three choices, namely first, business, and economy class.

The company gives an opportunity for people who cannot afford to buy first class tickets excellent opportunity; however, they receive less comfort or attention. The morality can be understood differently and have various meanings for the employees. However, the understanding that the company is focused on making “the greatest good for the greatest number of people” set distinct goals and objectives (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012, p. 21).


In conclusion, it should be stated that the two philosophical movements find the reflexion in the business decision-making process; however, it should be pointed out that the utilitarian approach provides more benefits for the stakeholders and is commonly used in the business nowadays. The world is much more complicated than the division on black and white, moral or immoral. Every decision or action can be described differently and sometimes it can be better to sacrifice something, to receive the opportunity for the progress, improvement, and development.

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Brooks, L., & Dunn, P. (2014). Business & Professional Ethics. Stamford, ST: Cengage Learning. Web.

Emerson, R. (2009). Business Law (5th ed.). Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series. Web.

Halbert, T., & Ingulli, E. (2012). Law and ethics in the business environment (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western. Web.

Morland, M. (2011). Business ethics and continental philosophy. Cambridge, U. K.: Cambridge University Press. Web.

Neelankavil, J., & Rai, A. (2009). Basics of international business. Armonk, NY: Routledge. Web.

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