Tone-at-the-Top Lessons from Abrahamic Justice

Journal of Business Ethics 156 (1):209-225 (2019)
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Abraham’s “leadership by example” provides a template for business leaders to implement a tone at the top based on a balance of tzedek (righteousness) and mishpat (legal judgement). The former expresses the generosity of spirit required of leaders, while the latter expresses the sound judgement in conformity with both ethics and enacted law. We relate the two constructs to several contemporary theories of justice and jurisprudence. We also relate the development of Abrahamic Justice in the Jewish tradition from antiquity through Maimonides in the middle ages. We draw insight from this tradition to answer a contemporary business ethics question: Do corporate managers violate their fiduciary duty to shareholders if they refuse to engage in legal tax avoidance?



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