Michael Housman Logo
article » What your browser choice says about you: Firefox users are more committed at work than those who use Safari or Explorer

What your browser choice says about you: Firefox users are more committed at work than those who use Safari or Explorer

June 6, 2016
2 min read

By Shivali Best For MailonlinePUBLISHED: 08:48 EST, 6 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:27 EST, 6 June 2016

The browser you use could reveal more about you than you think.

When it comes to levels of commitment in the workplace Safari and Explorer users may be lacking.

That's according to new book, titled ‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World’, which also suggests that people who use Firefox or Chrome are more likely to remain in their jobs.

On PC, Internet Explorer is the default browser (left), while on a Mac, the computer comes pre-installed with Safari. Firefox (right) must be downloaded


Chrome: 41.6%

Internet Explorer: 41.3%

FireFox: 9.76%

Safari: 4.91%


Konqueror: 0.01%



Author, Professor Adam Grant, used research led by Michael Housman, which looked at 30,000 customer service agents in order to determine their commitment to their job.

Mr Housman suspected that the workers' employment histories would give the biggest indication of their job commitment.

However, his results showed that employees who had held five jobs in the past five years were not any more likely to leave their positions than those who had stayed in the same job.

Instead, Mr Housman's team looked at the internet browsers that each employee used.

Surprisingly, the results showed that employees who used Firefox or Google Chrome to browse the web remained in their jobs 15 per cent longer than those who used Internet Explorer of Safari.

To test this theory further, Mr Housman then ran the same test for absences from work.

The second test showed a pattern - Firefox and Chrome users were 19 per cent less likely to miss work than internet Explorer and Safari users.

Results also showed that choice of browser affected performance.

The Firefox and Chrome users had significantly higher sales, and their call times were shorter.

Their customers were happier too - 90 days from starting their job, the Firefox and Chrome users had customer satisfaction levels that Internet Explorer and Safari users reached only after 120 days at work.

Professor Adam Grant presented the findings of his new book, called ‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World’ at a Ted talk (pictured)

Professor Grant suggests that the choice of browser preference signals about the employees habits.

The main difference was how the employees obtained their browser.

On PC, Internet Explorer is the default browser, while on a Mac, the computer comes pre-installed with Safari.

Almost two thirds of the customer service agents used the default browser, never questioning whether a better one was available.

Making the effort to actually download Firefox or Chrome demonstrates some resourcefulness, and shows initiative.

Speaking to Freakonomics Radio, Mr Housman said: 'I think that the fact that you took the time to install Firefox on your computer shows us something about you. It shows that you’re someone who is an informed consumer.

'You’ve made an active choice to do something that wasn’t default.'

Professor Grant suggests that this initiative could also be shown in the agents' work - those who took the initiative to change their browsers to Firefox or Chrome tailored their job description around them, creating the jobs they wanted.

There may also be other factors in play which affect your commitment to your job which were not looked at in this study.


Internet Explorer, which was first called Windows Internet Explorer, was first released as part of the add-on package Plus! for Windows 95 in 1995.

Internet Explorer was one of the most widely used web browsers, attaining a peak of about 95 per cent during 2002 and 2003.

However, it struggled in the face of competition, and in May 2012 it was announced that Google's Chrome overtook Internet Explorer as the most used browser worldwide.

The brand has struggled to shake off the bad reputation of Internet Explorer 6, which was notoriously insecure.

After Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001, the browser hit its first real speed bump in its digital life.

An alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned users in 2004 that holes in Internet Explorer could lead to their passwords and other personal information falling into the hands of hackers.

Microsoft rolled out a fix but security issues continued to grow - causing the firm to eventually decide to kill off the brand.

To access the full-length article, click here.