Consumer Behaviour

Consumer Behaviour

Brief Outline and Aims of the Course

Understanding the nature of consumer behaviour is critical for understanding not just the marketing environment, but also the nature of the consumer society that we

live in. This module seeks to develop critical understandings of consumer behaviour that will hold relevance both inside and outside the domain of marketing practice.

This module is best suited to those students who are open to new ideas, who are self-motivated, willing to read extensively and contribute widely to class discussion

and who are curious about the nature of contemporary consumption, markets and culture.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course you will be able to:

•    Assess and evaluate the factors, internally and externally, through which we understand consumer behaviour
•    Apply relevant consumer behaviour theories in understanding the impact of marketing strategies
•    Develop critical and reflexive understandings of the nature of consumption, markets and culture
•    Appreciate the complexity of consumer behaviour

Session    Lecture  Topic
1    Introduction and Overview of the Module

2    Consumer Choice

3    Perception and Learning

4    Attitudes, Behaviour and Motivation

5    Situational Influences

6    Self-Concept and Identity

7    Group Influence

8    Consumption and Culture

9    New Directions in Consumer Research

10    Review of Module and Revision Guidance

This course will be assessed by the following:

Individual Assignment
Select one of following two topics for your assignment. The essay is to be 2,000 words in length and must contain a reference list of all sources consulted (not

included in word length). Marking will be on the basis of research effort, engagement with appropriate academic literature, content, argument effectiveness and writing

style. The options for the individual assignment are as follows:

1.    Read the following text: Schouten, John W. & James H. McAlexander (1995), “Subcultures of consumption: an ethnography of the new bikers”, Journal of Consumer

Research, vol.22, June, pp.43-61.

Using the theories developed in this and related studies to study a subculture of consumption of your choice and undertake a detailed analysis of this subculture in a

similar way to Schouten and McAlexander.

2.    Choose an example of an experiential retail environment (theme park, flagship brand store, festival marketplace, theme pub/restaurant/hotel etc) and analyse in

depth how it creates symbolic meanings. Evaluate whether you think these are effective or not for the environment you have chosen.

This assignment carries 30% of the grades
This assignment is due 20th March 2015

Important criteria for assessment
(Applies to both assignment and examination)

a)    Overall: Answering the question(s); knowledge and understanding of theory and literature; knowledge and reference to appropriate cases and evidence; and

analysis and structure.

b)    Data: Draw upon the suggested readings indicated for each lecture and workshop, as well as seeking out and using additional apposite material including case

study examples.

c)    Logic and coherence: Introduce the topic, e.g. presenting an overview and indicating the key theoretical and empirical points that will cover the topic or

validate your argument. The core of the assignment or exam question answering should then investigate each of these key issues in turn. You should bear in mind the

links between each key issue and your main argument and the links between the key issues. The conclusion should summarise and re-emphasise the main argument and key


d)    References: Full regulations on essay writing including referencing system are given in the School of Management Student Handbook.


Core Reading:
Solomon, M., Bamossy, G., Askegaard, S. and M.K. Hogg  (2013) Consumer Behaviour: A European Perspective, Prentice-Hall: New Jersey. (ISBN 978-0273772729)

There are a number of excellent Consumer Behaviour texts that cover similar material, albeit at different intellectual levels and from alternative perspectives. Some

of these are listed here:

Desmond, J. (2003) Consumer Behaviour, Palgrave: London,(ISBN 0-333-04992-7)

Schiffman, L.G. and L.L. Kanuk (1999) Consumer Behavior, Prentice-Hall: New Jersey. (ISBN 0130841293)

Chisnall, P.M. (1994) Consumer Behaviour, 3rd edition, McGraw-Hill: London. (ISBN 0030211085)

Engel, J.F., R.D. Blackwell and P.W. Miniard, Consumer Behaviour, 7th or 8th edition, The Dryden Press. (ISBN 0030211085)

Assael, H., 1998. Consumer Behaviour and Marketing Action, 6th edition, PWS-Kent: Massachusetts. (ISBN 0538867701)

Foxall, G.R., Goldsmith, R.E. and Brown, S. (1998) Consumer Psychology for Marketing, Thomson Business Press: London. (ISBN 1861523718)

An interesting and classic text, which takes a critical view of marketers (referring to them as the ‘depth manipulators’), is the following:

Packard, V., (1981) The Hidden Persuaders, Penguin Books: London.

You are also encouraged to consult consumer behaviour, advertising and marketing related publications on a regular basis. Some of these are Journal of Consumer

Research, Journal of Consumer Culture, Consumption, Markets & Culture, Marketing Theory and the Journal of Macromarketing .

An Internet site that may be of assistance for sourcing relevant readings is Other sites for journal articles are:,,


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