Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 28, 2017

Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Meeting

Jason Good, Paloma Vargas, Blanca Lopez, Bryan W. Husted
Pages 82-94

The Voice of History
What Can the Ancient Aztecs Tell Us About Universal Business Norms?

This study explores the role of history in establishing the universality of business norms, which is largely missing from the Integrated Social Contracts Theory literature. We apply a grounded theory methodology to business-oriented parts of The Florentine Codex, which documents a 16th century study of Nahua society (of which the Aztecs were a part). In doing so we derive six business norms operating in 16th century Nahua society: ‘care for others,’ ‘exercise prudence,’ ‘tell the truth,’ ‘be respectful of others,’ ‘show reverence to the gods,’ and ‘be humble.’ From these findings we discuss relationships between these norms and the norms operating in current-day global business society, and argue that studies of universal norms should account for the role of time in establishing their universality.