Business ethics can be looked at in two different ways. First from an individual standpoint and also an organizational standpoint. Individuals have the responsibility to exhibit ethical behavior to both there employer as well as the customer. Organizations carry the same responsibility towards the customer but also carry a social responsibility to contribute to the community in which they conduct business in.
The decision process in making ethical decisions starts of course at an individual level. The first question that must be asked is if the decision you're making is legal or not. The odds are that if you are making a decision that was deemed to be against the law or corporate policy at some point in time it is unethical. Decisions such as this could also have serious consequences on both the individual and the organization. The second question one must be asked is if the decision being made is balanced or not.
Will it be fair towards all parties affected by the decision? It does not exhibit good leadership or decision making to favor one entity over another. The last question that must be asked is how it will make you feel or others feel once this decision has been acted upon. Will one party benefit at the others expense? Will you feel proud of the decision you made or will you have to hide it? Asking yourself these questions in advance is a surefire way to determine whether your decisions are ethical or not.
For ethics in the business world to be adhered to it must start at the top of the ladder. It would not demonstrate good leadership and employees would hesitate to follow leadership that promoted unethical decisions. This will also break the bond of trust between organizational leadership down to the individual level.