Decision-making skills in a business environment are critical for continued company growth and progress. Personal or business ethics can have a substantial impact on how decisions are made. In order for decisions to be ethically defensible it must contain specific elements. The basic elements in ethical decisions are ground rules. Ground rules can be composed of informal ethical believes of business ethics. The determining factor of an ethical decision will be based on which ground rule is used.

An ethically defensible decision includes a number of important elements. Most crucial are the ground rules that underlie such a decision. These can include informal ground rules like religious faith, family values, personal experiences, and the personality of the individual. However, a business impacting decision needs to be based on ground rules developed by the organization. Organizational ground rules can include employee treatment, discrimination awareness, company value and corporate goals. In the business environment, ethically defensible decision needs to be based on business ground rule, which may require a critical thinker to disallow emotion in making the decision.

The organization of a companies ground rules can be based on many factors. The primary factor in creating organizational ground rules would be the companies' mission statement or long-term goals. The importance of establishing ground rules directly impacts ethical decision-making. If there are no ground rules to guide an ethical decision, then it may be based on personal or informal ground rules. Since formal ground rules have become so important, many organizations inform employees of ethical guidelines when hired. With so many decisions being based of business ethics or established company ground rules, there can be situations where ethics can be the driving force of the decision.

The ethical implications of these decisions can change informal ground rules or personal ethics. If the employee is in the position where they are the decision maker for an organization, they will most likely adapt many of the ethics or ground rules that have been experienced through the company. There may be a literal transformation of personal ground rules and ethics are differently affected by a person position. Just opposite of changing informal ground rules, there are situations where an organization much change its ground rules in order to prevent conflicting ethics. American culture consist of so many different ethical believes that shapes how business make create their own internal ground rule.

In some situation ethical decisions may be require ground rules to be changed. With the constant change in business today, it not uncommon to see an organization change its ground rule to adapt to the ever-changing client. In recent years, the impact of ethical shambles by global organizations in the business world have resulted in renewed discussions of ethical decision making in both the personal and business spheres. Organizations must be aware of what elements must be present in order for a decision to be ethically defensible. Ground rules must be established in a manner that defines business ethics and attempts to not affect any informal ground rules. The recent organizations that have had serious ethical and legal issues represented some of the most extreme examples of 'ethically challenged' decisions, yet they clearly represent a need for a better understanding of ethics in decision making..