Hypernorms are a concept from Business ethics that applies to principles so fundamental that, by definition, they serve to evaluate lower-order norms, reaching to the root of what is ethical for humanity.
"principles so fundamental that they constitute norms by which all others are to be judged. Hypernorms are discernible in a convergence of religious, political and philosophical thought. An "authentic norm" is one that is generated within a community's moral free space and which satisfies the requirements of terms 1 and 2 of the macrosocial contract. Authentic norms are based upon the attitudes and behaviors of the members of their source communities. A "legitimate norm" is an authentic norm that is compatible with hypernorms."
- “When ethics travel: the promise and peril of global business ethics” by Thomas Donaldson and Thomas W. Dunfee, California Management Review, Summer 1999; 41, 4; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 45
- Social Contract Theory and Gender Discrimination: Some Reflections on the Donaldson/Dunfee Model Don Mayer; Anita Cava Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 2, Social Contracts and Business Ethics. (Apr., 1995), pp. 257-270.
- Précis for Ties that Bind* Thomas Donaldson Thomas W. Dunfee http://lgst.wharton.upenn.edu/donaldst/Documents/Summary%20of%20Ties%204tjd%20for%20Personal%20Web%20Page.pdf & Business & Society Review 105(4)