The Causes and Cures of Unethical Business Practices – A Jewish Perspective

37 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2013 Last revised: 16 Jun 2014

Date Written: January 27, 2013


The workplace seems increasingly characterized by unethical practices between and among employers, employees, customers, competitors and others, despite the fact that most leading religious traditions proscribe such conduct and many of the actors self-identify as religious. This paper examines this phenomenon through the prism of Jewish tradition. It identifies specific Jewish teachings that explain many types of misconduct and, where appropriate, it cites modern secular experiments that confirm these Judaic insights. Based on these teachings, the paper prescribes a series of steps that, if implemented, could enhance the integrity of business and financial actors.

Note: This is a working paper in connection with the Henry Kaufman Forum on Religious Traditions and Business Behavior sponsored by the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

Keywords: bias, Bible, business ethics, cheating, ethics, Festinger, fraud, God, humility, Jewish, Judaism, King David, morality, psychological, religious, role-differntiated morality, tradition, Torah

Suggested Citation

Resnicoff, Steven H., The Causes and Cures of Unethical Business Practices – A Jewish Perspective (January 27, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Steven H. Resnicoff (Contact Author)

DePaul University College of Law ( email )

25 E. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL Cook County 60604-2287
United States
312-362-8137 (Phone)
312-362-5448 (Fax)

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