dictate-n; 2 Senses

Sense Number 1: a guiding principle

Commentary: DICTATE[+entity][+abstract][+idea][+principle][+guiding]

This emotional argument does not conform to the dictates of reason.
The dictates of fashion go against wearing plaids with polka dots.
A dictate of conscience is to be honest.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1

Sense Number 2: an authoritative ruling, pronouncement

Commentary: DICTATE[+event][+speech_act][+ruling][+authoritative]
NOTE: implies a pronouncement by an agent

The staff gradually learned to ignore the frequent dictates of the boss.
The economic dictates of the new regime were contradictory and unenforceable.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2