Pointless or Powerful: The Case for Oaths of Office

James S. Bowman, Jonathan P. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The practice of making oaths comes from ancient times, a tradition common to virtually all peoples and cultures. Recent calls for ethics reform have included questions about how or whether these declarations are honored. In the fraught politics of today’s secularized, pluralistic society, skepticism about oaths may be tempting, but it is insufficient as the topic deserves critical reflection. This study assesses the efficacy of oaths of office by examining them using intellectual, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual transcendental values that define excellence. The analysis offers recommendations to reinforce the significance of this once-venerable bond between the populace and public servants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1169
Number of pages23
JournalAdministration and Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • ethics
  • oaths of office
  • transcendental values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Pointless or Powerful: The Case for Oaths of Office'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this