Sample Business Studies Paper on Deontological Ethics

Sample Business Studies Paper on Deontological Ethics

Elizabeth Holmes was labeled the next Steve Jobs because at 19 she dropped out of Stanford University and founded a biotech startup Theranos, which was then called Real-Time Cures. Theranos promised that with just “a single finger prick,” the blood analyzer could inexpensively detect a wide range of health conditions from cancer to diabetes. Holmes’ charismatic stage presence captivated investors who helped her raise more than $700 million. She was featured on magazine covers and was touted as the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. The only problem was that her Edison blood analyzer never actually worked, and the company was running most blood tests on the machines of other firms.

In 2013, the company partnered with Walgreens. Theranos vastly exaggerated its revenues, telling investors that it would generate $100 million in 2014; the actual figure was barely $100,000. Holmes was exposed for faking data and lying to cover up the fraud. She had to pay fines to the Securities Exchange Commission, and now she faces criminal charges stemming from allegations that she and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani engaged in a scheme to defraud investors. In September 2018, her $9 billion company shut down.

Using Kant’s categorical imperative, what would deontologists conclude about Holmes’ motives and actions? Who was lied to or disrespected? What duties did Holmes and her company have to the various stakeholders? Use concrete examples to help support your reasoning.



Brez, S. (2019, July 9). Somewhere over Theranos–There’s no place like Holmes. Retrieved from


Hartmans, A., & Leskin, P. (2019, June 28). The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, who started Theranos when she was 19 and became the world’s youngest female billionaire but will now face a trial over “massive fraud” in July 2020. Retrieved from