This study asked subject matter experts about key characteristcs of an ethical business culture. Here is what they said:
(1) Mission & Value Driven: Clarity of vision; institutionalization of ethical values
(2) Long-term perspective: Balancing the purposes of business; shareholder vs. stakeholder responsibility
(3) Stakeholder balance: Both internal and external; directly or indirectly connected to the business
(4) Effective leaders: Embodiment of organization’s values in own behavior; compelling communication of values
(5) Process integrity: e.g. recruiting, hiring, firing, evaluating, compensating, promoting, communcating
Alexandre Ardichvili, James A. Mitchell, & Dougals Jondle (2009). Characteristics of ethical business cultures. Journal of Business Ethics, 85 (4), 445-451.