On the practices of managing demand in the UK water industry management

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Contemporary research criticises the limited capacity of existing demand management strategies to provide the systemic transformations necessary to address complex socio-environmental problems. In particular simplistic models of consumer behaviour (Sofoulis, 2011, Sharp et al., 2015) and supply-demand systems (Van Vliet et al., 2005, Sofoulis, 2014) have been shown to limit the contribution of demand management activities toward policy objectives such as sustainability and resilience. In response several authors have attempted to reimagine and reconceptualise management practices (e.g. Strengers, 2012, Spurling et al., 2013, Browne et al., 2014, Shove, 2014), yet in the main, demand management remains resolutely invested in a narrow range of activities designed to curb consumption (Shove, 2010).

This raises questions regarding the dynamics of professional practice and calls for attention to how demand management strategies are shaped and constrained while potentially valuable alternatives are suppressed. To this end, this paper examines the routines of water efficiency managers as a case study of the everyday practices involved in implementing policy objectives. Our aim is to shed light on the socio-technical elements that shape demand management, and affect the process and outcomes of management activity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • demand
  • Demand and innovation
  • Energy
  • Water
  • water efficiency
  • practice theory
  • management
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Sustainable consumption


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