According to Kantianism, the good of an action should be based on its intentions and not its consequences. An individual, performing good acts should do so not because of some reward but because performing the good act is their duty. Kant distinguished duty into two, hypothetical and categorical duties. Hypothetical duties refer to things we do so we can achieve something else. Categorical duties refer to actions that we undertake, bound by rational thinking. It is the categorical duties that form the basic principles of Kantianism ethics.
Bowie demonstrated the practicality of Kantianism ethics by pointing to three aspects;
The self-defeating nature of immoral actions
To determine the morality behind an action a test on the principle guiding that particular action should be observed. This would be achieved by determining if the principle can be applied universally without contradiction or not. If the principle cannot be applied universally without contradiction, then the action is morally wrong. For instance, when businesses make additional demands on negotiated contracts, it shows that the business had no intention of abiding by the contract in the first place. According to categorical duties, if the principle of breaking contracts is universally applied then contracts would be deemed none existence because the parties are not obliged to honor the terms.
Treating stakeholders as persons
Kant asserted that dignity acquired by human beings through reason is valuable beyond price. Thus, during human interaction, people should ensure they treat each other not as a means but an end. In business relationships, the people should not be deceived or coerced instead, they should be given room to grow their human capacities.
The business firm as a moral community
According to Kant, the members of a business organization should develop rules that they can support. This builds the sense of ownership by the members towards the rules and ensures that they are subject to the same. Thus, such a community would foster respect among its members and ensure a moral relationship is developed.