The Principles of Transparency and Judging Others Favorably: The Talmudic View


  • Hershey Friedman Professor of Business Department of Business Management, Koppelman School of Business Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, USA
  • Robert B. Fireworker Professor of Computer Information Systems and Decision Sciences Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John's University, USA



Business ethics, Talmud, conflict of interest, transparency in business, judging others favorably


Many scholars believe that conflicts of interest are an ethical issue and a critical impediment to effective management. An organization interested in functioning honestly and efficiently should first do everything possible to reduce or eliminate this problem. The current opioid crisis responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the Great Recession of 2008 have been attributed to conflicts of interest in the pharmaceutical industry and the financial sector, respectively. In order to understand these modern problems, this paper examines two relevant and seemingly contradictory Talmudic principles: First, that a person is required to behave in a transparent manner and not act in a way that will cause others to suspect that s/he is doing something immoral or unethical. Second, that one should judge others favorably and give them the benefit of the doubt. The problem of persistent rumors about misbehavior is also studied.