Within these findings are many insights and differences in opinion as to the benefits and caveats of XBRL adoption. In the a case of HMRC, privacy issues are a key factor in the reason for their partial adoption of XBRL, rather than the full adoption undertaken by CH. The interviewees were from varied backgrounds and included three from HMRC and four from CH. They included persons from many different facets of the project. They included interviews from accountancy, the Manager of Online Services, a Technical Architect, and a Process Advisor. These interviewees represent technical personnel who are directly involved in the project implementation. The list of interviewees also included senior management, including the Head of Development, Senior Project Manager, and Business Systems Analyst.
The interviewees represent diversity in opinions among those in various phases of the project. They represent numerous disciplines that are involved as well. Each professional was concerned about the overall project, but they focused mainly on their area of expertise. The various positions of the interviewees provide more rounded opinions concerning the various aspects of the adoption process. For instance, upper project managers have different opinions and concerns from the accountants involved in the project. These two have different opinions and concerns than the IT professionals. The selection of interviewees revealed valuable diversity in the opinions expressed. This provided the researcher with an excellent source for getting to the reasons behind the different adoption processes, allowing the researcher to focus on the many aspects of the process, rather than on the end result.
Each interviewee provides the researcher with a focused perspective on the problem. They provide their opinions and perspective from their own personal point-of-view and concerns over the project. By looking at the combined effects of these viewpoints, one can begin to see the entire picture of what happened during the adoption process. There is always a complex number of players, each with differing perspectives in the adoption of any technological process. Each has their own focus, which may make it difficult to see the overall picture. The focus of this research is on the factors that influence the adoption of XBRL as a means to promote e-filing of taxes that will be required in the following years. It focuses on the processes involved. Therefore, analysis results will be based on composite responses and on the coding scheme discussed in Chapter 4. However, the analysis will not rely entirely on these schemes, but on qualitative reflection by the research as well.
Part 1: Roger's Innovation Adoption Stage Process
Roger's innovation adoption stage process was discussed in Chapter 3 as a potential framework for the analysis of the adoption process. knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. The first analysis of the processes will use the framework provided by Rogers as its basis.
Stage 1: Knowledge
Roger's knowledge stage were not entirely under the control of the HMRC and CH. This stage came as a result of the Lord Carter Review, which recommended that XBRL be adopted by the agencies. However, due the ease with which XBRL can handle data, both agencies were already in the process of researching XBRL. Lord Carter's Review simply made them search for knowledge more earnestly then they were by themselves. It gave them the push to take steps towards the next stage in the process and final implementation of XBRL. The adoption of XBRL was no longer an idea, it was a goal, with a definite end date set for implementation. Both agencies had to work towards that end.
Rogers assumes that the knowledge and awareness are a function of the adopter's education and exposure to mass media. Although both agencies were already researching the possibilities of XBRL over their PDF and XML formats, the Lord Carter Review acted as a change agent. However, the power level between the recommender and the adopter are differential in this case. They are not on an even playing field and the recommender has considerable authority over the adopter. The adopter does not have a real choice in going along with the recommendations. They must take the recommendations of their superiors. Both CH and HMRC were already familiar with XBRL, the Lord Carter Review gave them the push to further their research.
Rogers indicates that knowledge finding is not a passive activity, particularly when the need exists for the innovation. In this case, the need to explore the innovation was thrust upon the two entities. They had to examine the technology and learn as much as possible about it, only their search became active, rather than casual. The first formal meeting where everyone agreed to explore XBRL at HMRC occurred in 2002 as a result of a workshop. From that point, HMRC held over 20 meetings to explore XBRL (Interviewee Jeff Smith, P2). From the very beginning, XBRl seemed like the solution for CH. They immediately saw it as the solution to their paperwork processing problem. They know that XBRL would help to resolve data reconciliation problems and the problems of processing tremendous amounts of paper filings (Ros James, P5). At this point, the process for HMRC and CH are similar and both immediately recognized the potential of XBRL long before the Lord Carter Review recommendation.
Both Jeff Smith and already had a strong opinion of the capabilities of XBRL and its use in e-filing taxes. Greener was already aware of XBRL and its potential for the online filing of taxes. He was aware of its technical positives and negatives and could provide a comprehensive assessment of the technology early on in the adoption process. Greener served as a consultant for many of the other persons involved in the adoption process and was a valuable source of information for other team members. Greener played a key role in the dissemination of knowledge to others within the company.
Interviewee Richard Harries of HMRC has a basis strictly in the tax business. His area of expertise revolves around the taxonomy of the filing process. He feels confident that XBRL will be able to provide the needed solutions in this area. Both Greener and Harries see the limitations of XBRL in their ability to deliver a consumer readable format. The problem lies in finding a way to take advantage of the data capability of XBRL, without having the consumer file the same information in redundant formats. In this case, iXBRL may provide the solutions.
These interviews highlighted the various levels of pre-existing knowledge about the process and its impact on the dissemination of knowledge among other adopters. We found that the opinions of knowledgeable adopters may have an impact on the opinions of other adopters. In this case, Greener may have been seen as the "expert" due to his extensive IT background. This may have given him more credibility and his opinions more weight in the dissemination of knowledge among other team members. However, it may not be apparent to other adopters that Greener's opinion is only one aspect of the abilities of XBRL to fulfill the needs of HMRC. There are certainly many other aspects to consider, such as the successes expressed by Harries or the ability of XBRL to be read by the consumer.
One of the most important aspects that was discovered during this stage of the innovation adoption process is that during the knowledge stage, opinions begin to be formed that may ultimately affect the final decision that is made. If the adopter has no previous knowledge of the technology, they are open to suggestion and may be influenced by those with strong opinions. If they already have a considerable amount of knowledge, they may be unwilling to listen to the opinions of others, particularly if that person has a difference in opinion. These factors were not discussed extensively in the works of Rogers, but became apparent during the interview process of this research. In this manner, this research extended the works of Rogers to include the affects of group dynamics in the knowledge stage. Required interest vs. genuine interest has a profound impact on the enthusiasm demonstrated in the knowledge gathering phase of adoption.
This research highlighted the adoption process introduced by Rogers. It provided a greater depth of exploration into the Knowledge stage proposed by Rogers. We learned that knowledge acquisition has many facets that go beyond basic knowledge of the technology. We also learned that biases can be formed early on that may affect the evaluation and decision stage. These biases can have a positive or negative affect on the willingness to adopt the technology. Power struggles and hierarchies also play a role in team dynamics, as we saw in the influence of Greener and Harries over other team members. Rogers' innovation stages of adoption are complex when the decision involves a team.
Knowledge dissemination differed between HMRC and CH. The basic process was the same in both organizations. In both organizations the knowledge acquisition began with a few members of the team. At HMRC,…