Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 137–147 | Cite as

If the River Stopped: A Talmudic Perspective on Downsizing

  • Robert H. Carver


In a weak economy, both managers and scholars may seek an ethical framework to guide decisions about layoffs and downsizing. Agency and stakeholder theories offer limited practical guidance about ethical norms. This paper looks to the Talmud, an ancient compilation of law, legend, and critical analysis for insights into the modern employment relationship. In its method of analysis and in its specific discussion of the treatment of employees, the Talmud provides an approach and a framework for assessing the ethical standing of particular layoff decisions. The article introduces readers to elements of Talmudic analysis and then applies that framework to particular kinds of corporate downsizing decisions.

business ethics downsizing Jewish law layoffs Talmud 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert H. Carver
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationStonehill CollegeEastonU.S.A.

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