Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Goldwurm, H. and Y. Schorr: 1994, Talmud Bavli: The Gemara: The Classic Vilna Edition, with an Annotated, Interpretive Elucidation, as an Aid to Talmud Study. ArtScroll Series, Schottenstein Edition (Mesorah Publications Ltd., Brooklyn NY).Google Scholar
  2. The Soncino Talmud: 1995, CD-ROM Judaic Classics Library (Institute for Comptuers in Jewish Life & Davka Corporation and Judaica Press, Inc., Brooklyn NY).Google Scholar
  3. Steinsaltz, A.: 1992, The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition (Random House, New York).Google Scholar

Other sources

  1. Davis, K.: 1973, ‘The Case For and Against Business Assumption of Social Responsibilities’, Academy of Management Journal 16(2), 312–322.Google Scholar
  2. Frederick, William C.: 1994, ‘From CSR1 to CSR2: The Maturing of Business and Society Thought’, Business and Society 33(2), 150–164.Google Scholar
  3. Friedman, H.: 2003, ‘Creating a Company Code of Ethics: Using the Bible as a Guide’, Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies 8(1).Google Scholar
  4. Friedman, M.: 1962, Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).Google Scholar
  5. Friedman, M.: 1970, ‘The Social Responsibility of Business’, New York Times Magazine, Sep 13, 32–33, 123–125.Google Scholar
  6. Freund, R. A.: 1990, Understanding Jewish Ethics (EMText, San Francisco).Google Scholar
  7. Hopkins, W. E. and S. A. Hopkins: 1999, ‘The Ethics of Downsizing: Perceptions of Rights and Responsibilities’, Journal of Business Ethics 18(2), 145–156.Google Scholar
  8. Levine, A.: 1980, Free Enterprise and Jewish Law: Aspects of Jewish Business Ethics (Ktav, New York).Google Scholar
  9. Levine, A. and M. Pava, Moses (eds.): 1999, Jewish Business Ethics: The Firm and its Stakeholders (Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale NJ).Google Scholar
  10. Meir, A.: 1996, ‘Values Conflicts in Jewish Business Ethics: Social Versus Fiduciary Responsibility’, Jewish Law [Online] http://www.jlaw.com/articles/fiduciary.html.Google Scholar
  11. Neusner, J.: 1984, Invitation to the Talmud (Harper & Row, San Francisco).Google Scholar
  12. Pava, M. L.: 1997, Business Ethics: A Jewish Perspective (Ktav, Hoboken, NJ).Google Scholar
  13. Pava, M. L.: 1998, ‘The Substance of Jewish Business Ethics’, Journal of Business Ethics 17(6), 603–617.Google Scholar
  14. Pava, M. L.: 1999, ‘Moral Markets: Two Cheers for Stakeholder Theory’, in A. Levine and M. Pava (eds.), Jewish Business Ethics: The Firm and its Stakeholders (Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale NJ).Google Scholar
  15. Rosen, J.: 2000, The Talmud and the Internet: A Journey between Worlds (Farrar Strauss, New York).Google Scholar
  16. Schiffman, L.: 1991, From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Ktav, New York).Google Scholar
  17. Schnall, D. J.: 1999, ‘The Employee as Corporate Stakeholder: Exploring the Relationship between Jewish Tradition and Contemporary Business Ethics’, in A. Levine and M. Pava (eds.), Jewish Business Ethics: The Firm and its Stakeholders (Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale NJ).Google Scholar
  18. Simon, J.: 1997, ‘The Mensch of Malden Mills’, Life, May 5, 1997.Google Scholar
  19. Steinsaltz, A.: 1992, The Essential Talmud (Jason Aronson, Northvale NJ).Google Scholar
  20. Tamari, M.: 1987, With All Your Possessions: Jewish Ethics and Economic Life (Free Press, New York).Google Scholar
  21. Tamari, M.: 2000, ‘Downsizing and Stakeholder Capitalism: A Jewish Perspective’, Darché Noam [Online]. http://www.darchenoam.org/ethics/DSZ/DMTamari.htm.Google Scholar
  22. Van Buren III, H. J.: 1999, ‘Acting More Generously than the Law Requires: The Issue of Employee Layoffs in Halakhah’, Journal of Business Ethics 19(4), 335–343.Google Scholar
  23. Worthy, J. C.: 1958, ‘Religion and Its Role in the World of Business’, 31(4), 293–303.Google Scholar
  24. Wurzburger, W. S.: 1999, ‘Covenantal Morality in Business’, in A. Levine and M. Pava (eds.), Jewish Business Ethics: The Firm and its Stakeholders (Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale NJ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations