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Journal cover: Information Technology & People

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Online from: 1982

Subject Area: Information and Knowledge Management

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Translation in XBRL standardization

Document Information:
Title:Translation in XBRL standardization
Author(s):Indrit Troshani, (University of Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia), Andy Lymer, (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Citation:Indrit Troshani, Andy Lymer, (2010) "Translation in XBRL standardization", Information Technology & People, Vol. 23 Iss: 2, pp.136 - 164
Keywords:Computer applications, Extensible markup language, Financial information, Financial reporting, Standardization
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09593841011052147 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors would like to thank Dr Joanne Locke, University of Birmingham, and Professor Alan Lowe, Aston University, for their invaluable feedback and comments on earlier drafts of this article. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and feedback during the review process.

Purpose – Extensible business reporting language (XBRL) presents new opportunities for integrating the flow of financial information within communities of diverse organizations, thereby significantly enhancing the business information supply chain and addressing existing efficiency, accuracy and transparency problems. Vital to its success, XBRL standardization is proving to be challenging. This paper aims to investigate the phenomena that occur when heterogeneous actors interact in attempts to standardize XBRL.

Design/methodology/approach – Drawing upon actor-network theory (ANT) the authors “follow the actors” participating in the standardization of XBRL in Australia. Supporting qualitative empirical evidence was collected via interviews and reviews of XBRL artifacts and relevant technical documentation.

Findings – The authors confirm the critical role of focal actors in standardizing XBRL in networks of heterogeneous actors. In addition to clear and indispensable value propositions and solid political and financial support, focal actors must also undertake effective problematization which can determine the manner in which interessement unfolds in their network. It is found that separation or even lack of alignment between technical standardization efforts and social and strategic orientation can be detrimental to translation effectiveness and network stability, and therefore, adversely affect standardization outcomes.

Originality/value – By presenting unsuccessful and potentially successful focal actors side by side, the paper contributes to the current body of knowledge by enhancing current understanding of their role in achieving effective translations in XBRL standardization networks. It also provides the most analytical review to date of actor interaction in XBRL standardization in the literature.

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