A study co-authored by an Indian-origin marketing expert has found cleanliness can help people return to ethical behaviour.
On the other hand, feelings of disgust can increase behaviours like lying and cheating, the findings showed.
The study suggest that if the employees find their workplace spic and span, they are more likely to cooperate and less likely to cheat.
"Small things can trigger specific emotions, which can deeply affect people's decision-making," explained Vikas Mittal, professor at Rice University.
The study highlights the powerful impact emotions have on individual decision-making.
"At the basic level, if you have environments that are cleaner, if you have workplaces that are cleaner, people should be less likely to feel disgusted," Mittal pointed out.
"If there is less likelihood to feel disgusted, there will be a lower likelihood that people need to be self-focused and there will be a higher likelihood for people to cooperate with each other," he stressed.
The study involved 600 participants around the United States; both genders were equally represented.
People who experienced disgust consistently engaged in self-interested behaviours at a significantly higher rate than those who did not, the findings showed.
The findings should help managers and organisational leaders understand the impact, both ethical and unethical, of emotions on decision-making, Mittal said.
The study is forthcoming in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.