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Unit information: Consumption and Consumer Behaviour in 2020/21

Unit name Consumption and Consumer Behaviour
Unit code EFIM20046
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Evans
Open unit status Not open

Markets and Marketing (EFIM10017)



School/department School of Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Understanding consumption and consumer behaviour is an essential part of the marketing process and key to the long-term success of any organisation. The study of consumption and consumer behaviour focuses on the processes through which individuals or groups acquire, use and dispose of products, services or experiences. This unit aims to explore a range of approaches to consumption and consumer behaviour, encouraging students to critically evaluate their relative merits. Accordingly, insights will be drawn from a range of disciplines including psychology and economics, STS (Science and Technology Studies) and sociology, and cultural theory and anthropology. In addition to exploring the significance of consumer behaviour for commercial organisations, this unit aims to demonstrate how consumption is positioned as both a problem for and solution to a number of contemporary social and policy challenges. These include public health, gambling, debt, trade justice and environmental sustainability. Students are thus required to consider the implications of differing and complementary insights into consumption for practical efforts to change consumer behaviour.

Intended learning outcomes

Students should be able to:

ILO1: Distinguish between and critically evaluate a range of approaches to consumption and consumer behaviour

ILO2: Demonstrate an appreciation of how understandings of consumption and consumer behaviour contribute to effective marketing practice.

ILO3: Critically appraise the emphasis that is placed on consumption and consumer behaviour in contemporary policy debates

ILO4: Devise a social marketing or behaviour change campaign that makes credible recommendations in response to a given social or policy challenge

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions including lectures, tutorials, drop-in sessions, discussion boards and other online learning opportunities.

Assessment Details

Assessment on this unit is comprised of two components: A timed open book assessment assessing students' understanding of key concepts encountered across the course and their application to marketing practice - 50% of the unit mark. (ILO1, ILO2)

A 2,000 word 'policy brief' in which students will research a social or policy challenge of their own choosing. In it they will: i) outline the ways in which consumption and consumer behaviour are framed and interpreted, and ii) draw on insights into consumption to make practical recommendations for behaviour change - 50% of the unit mark. (ILO3, ILO4)

Reading and References

There is no core text for this unit, however the following are recommended:

• Szmigin, I. & Piacentini, M. 2018. Consumer Behaviour (2nd Edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
• Solomon, M.R., Bamossy, G.J., Askegaard, S. & Hogg, M.K. 2016, Consumer behaviour: a European perspective, Sixth edn, Pearson, Harlow, England

In addition, it is suggested that students read around the subject and may choose to draw from a range of texts including (but not limited to) the following:
Academic Textbooks

• Arnould, E.J. &Thompson, C.J. (Eds.) 2018 Consumer Culture Theory, Sage, London.
• East, R., Singh, J., Wright, M. & Vanhuele, M. (2017), Consumer behaviour: applications in marketing, 3rd edn, SAGE, Los Angeles.
• Ellis, N., Jack, G., Higgins, M., & Fitchett, J. (2010). Marketing: A critical textbook. Sage Publications.
• Foxall, G.R. (2015), Consumer behaviour: a practical guide, Routledge, London.
• Sassatelli, R. 2007. Consumer culture: History, theory and politics. Sage, London

• Lury, C. 2011. Consumer Culture. Polity: Cambridge

Academic and Practitioner Journals

• Consumption, Markets and Culture
• Journal of Consumer Behaviour
• Journal of Consumer Culture
• European Journal of Marketing
• Journal of Marketing Management
• Marketing Theory
• Journal of Consumer Research
• Harvard Business Review
• The Economist
• Marketing Campaign

Other news media

• Discover Society (
• The BBC website (
• Any/all broadsheet newspapers