Rather than taking the axe to whole operations or departments, you make small cuts to budgets or staffing across the board. The term is often used pejoratively, the suggestion being that salami-slicing is a feeble way of acting. The Italian sausage has long been used in metaphors that describe various types of reprehensible conduct. The earliest was 'salami tactics', a term coined by one of the Stalinist leaders of cold war Hungary to describe the government's way of undermining political opposition little by little. Then, in the 1970s, came the 'salami technique' or 'salami attack', sometimes known simply as 'salami', a type of fraud that proceeds by small steps. Specifically, it's when tiny sums are taken from numerous customer accounts and transferred into an account held by the fraudster under a false name. The idea is that the individual transactions are small enough to go unnoticed: not something that can be said about those salami-slicing cuts.
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