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Edited ethics: corporate governance and Kant's philosophy


  • Patrick A. McNutt


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to address the debate on an ethical foundation underpinning modern corporate governance and to argue that an ethical foundation is absent in the definition of corporate governance. The paper recommends an applied Kantian philosophy. Design/methodology/approach - The objective is achieved by introducing a Kantian morality and considering the distinction between accountability and responsibility in terms of fulfilling one's duty. Findings - Individuals do have a sense of duty and sense of what is right and what is wrong from an ethical perspective. There is a need for a code of ethical practice (CoEP) in business to encourage individuals to apply their sense of duty at employees or management. Research limitations/implications - The research ideas are limited to an ethical perspective that is based on a Kantian morality and the implementation of a code. Practical implications - Some practical implications from the theory addressed in the paper include a CoEP and the introduction of a K-profiling template at interview stage to assess the moral compass of a potential employee. Originality/value - The paper opens the debate on the need for an ethical foundation or “moral metric” in corporate governance that goes beyond a public relations exercise.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick A. McNutt, 2010. "Edited ethics: corporate governance and Kant's philosophy," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(10), pages 741-754, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:37:y:2010:i:10:p:741-754

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Liberty, Unanimity and Rights," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(171), pages 217-245, August.
    2. Clelia L. Rossi, 2010. "Compliance: an over-looked business strategy," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(10), pages 816-831, August.
    3. Elena Demidenko & Patrick McNutt, 2010. "The ethics of enterprise risk management as a key component of corporate governance," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(10), pages 802-815, August.
    4. Xavier Duran & Patrick McNutt, 2010. "Kantian ethics within transaction cost economics," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(10), pages 755-763, August.
    5. Binmore, Ken, 2005. "Natural Justice," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195178111, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shkendije Himaj, 2014. "Corporate Governance in Banks and its Impact on Risk and Performance: Review of Literature on the Selected Governance Mechanisms," Journal of Central Banking Theory and Practice, Central bank of Montenegro, vol. 3(3), pages 53-85.
    2. Benjamin Mwanzia Mulili & Dr. Peter Wong, 2011. "Corporate Governance Practices in Developing Countries: The Case for Kenya," International Journal of Business Administration, International Journal of Business Administration, Sciedu Press, vol. 2(1), pages 14-27, February.

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    Ethics; Corporate governance;


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