7 Examples of Deontology in Business

Deontology is a theory of ethics that suggests that actions can either be bad or good when judged based on a clear set of rules.

This theory suggests that actions that follow the set of prescribed rules are ethical or good and those that do not are considered unethical or bad.

The word is derived from the Greek word deon, which means duty. It implies that an individual or entity has a duty to follow the rules and ensure their actions are ethical.

Deontology is applied in business in many ways. The following are some examples of deontology in business.

1. Respect

Businesses uphold the ethical standard of respect within the workplace. People are meant to treat each other with respect regardless of age, race, nationality, or religion.

For example, companies keep personal data about their employees or customers such as age, bank account details or social security numbers and are expected to keep this information private out of respect for these individual’s privacy.

It is considered unethical or wrong for the company to give this data to a third party or release it to the public.

2. Lawfulness

Businesses operate within the boundaries of the rules and regulations set by those in authority within the industry.

These rules and regulations guide businesses on what is considered ethical or unethical.

For example, a business may be required to meet certain requirements such as employing personnel with training to a certain level.

However, if the business owner chooses to hire personnel without the required training, their actions would be considered unethical within the industry.

3. Transparency

It is important for businesses to operate with transparency. Consumers need to be able to trust what businesses present to them.

This trust helps to forge the foundation for a strong relationship with their customers. It also impacts their long-term success.

For example, if a manufacturer advertises their product as being sugar-free, consumers looking for sugar-free products will buy their product with the belief that it is sugar-free.

The company discloses all the ingredients in the product as part of being transparent.

However, if it fails to disclose the presence of sugar no matter how little, the company’s actions would be considered unethical.

4. Integrity

It is important for businesses to show where they stand and stick to it. This is even more important when they are under pressure to do otherwise.

This is a demonstration of the strength of character of the business executives.

For example, if a business owner is being pressured into using substandard ingredients in order to increase their profit margins and refuses to do so, they would be said to have integrity.

 Their actions are morally right based on general rules or fairness.

5. Compassion

Many businesses today make compassion a major part of their operations. They work to uplift their communities as well as members of communities in other parts of the world.

 This show of kindness, understanding and care is a reflection of a business acting ethically.

 For example, a mining company may invest in the community in the area in which it is mining.

The company may build hospitals, schools, and work to restore vegetative cover in areas that have been impacted by the mining activities.

This will help to uplift the community and reduce the negative impact of their activities.

6. Accountability

A business should be able to admit to making a mistake. This is especially important to shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders.

They should be able to own up to missteps even when this could have serious consequences.

For example, a business should admit losses to shareholders. Hiding the truth and refusing to face the consequences of mismanagement is considered unethical.

7. Fairness

It is important for businesses to be fair and just in all their dealings. Business executives should not take advantage of their power or another person’s mistakes.

Everyone in the work environment should be treated equally.

For example, an employee ought to be paid based on their qualifications and contributions to the business.

 It is unfair and wrong to pay an employee less simply because of their gender or because you can.


There you have it; 7 examples of deontology in business. As you can see, deontology is applied to every facet of business operation.

Businesses strive daily to adhere to rules and regulations set by authorities, industries as well as by themselves.