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Unit information: Consumer Behaviour in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Consumer Behaviour
Unit code EFIMM0043
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Penny Walters
Open unit status Not open




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


Central to this unit is the exploration and analysis of the notion of the ‘consumer’ and the concept of ‘consumption’. Students are encouraged to analyse the processes associated with consumption decisions, the internal and external influences upon them and, finally, consumers’ evaluative processes. Throughout the unit, students will explore the application of consumer behaviour within a range of contexts and critically evaluate the implications it holds, not only for management, but also for consumers themselves. More widely, they will also consider the impact and implications of consumption trends for society as a whole.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. A critical awareness of the changing nature of consumers, consumer practice and the wider the consumption environment.
  2. The ability to analyse and evaluate the importance that an understanding of consumer behaviour may have in the formulation of management and marketing strategy
  3. An evaluation of the relative influence of psychological, sociological, structural and cultural factors upon consumer behaviour.
  4. The capacity to differentiate between different types of decision-making processes, including B2B, B2C (B2B - Be able to diagnose organisational situations on the basis of cases and exercises discussed in syndicate groups; B2C - Be able to apply theoretical ideas and empirical evidence in organisational situations and to reach firm conclusions on desirable courses of appropriate action);
  5. Their ability to reflect upon the implications of alternative psychological and behavioural theories and form viewpoints based on evidence, analysis, synthesis and discussion.
  6. Their ability to critically evaluate the ethical implications associated with attempts to influence the attitudes and behaviours of consumers.

Teaching details

Teaching takes place in a combination of lectures and smaller group workshops. Whilst lectures will take place in a traditional lecture setting, all efforts will be made to ensure they are as engaging and interactive as possible with the active use of student questioning, polling software and student participation in exercises and demonstrations. Workshops/seminars will be case-based with a focus on students preparing, developing and then presenting material to peers who, in turn, will be encouraged to offer constructive feedback. Additional supporting material will also be made available online through the University Blackboard system.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment will take a variety of forms. Primarily, ongoing formative assessment of subject understanding will be undertaken in workshops as students will be encouraged to present ideas and concepts back to the group. Students will therefore be given verbal feedback from academic leads and as well as peer to peer feedback on such occaisions. The coursework element of the summative assessment also offers formative feedback opportunities around subject understanding but in relation to academic skills and presentation of ideas.

Summative assessment will take two forms:
1) A group ‘poster’ presentation. (40%)
Working in groups, students will be required to demonstrate their ability to analyse a question within a given consumer behaviour context and synthesise a range of academic concepts to provide a coherent response. In the first instance, the groups will convey this reponse through the medium of an academic ‘poster’. The groups will be given an deadline by which they will be required to hang their completed posters in a set location in ‘gallery’ fashion. Students will then be alloted a ten minute time slot when they will be required to attend and answer questions about the contents of their poster.

Students will be assessed upon their ability to demonstrate the following:
- Analysis of a dynamic aspect of the consumption environment and their evaluation of its impact on consumers and consumption practices (ILO1)
- Awarenss of the range of influences that can affect consumer behaviour (ILO3)
- Ability to evaluate the relevance of particular theories, models and concepts within a marketing and management context (ILO5)
- The ability to respond coherently and logically when challenged about potential alternate theories and ideas when questioned about the poster contents (ILO6)

It is anticipated that this piece of summative assessment will take place within the second half of TB2 during workshop/seminar time. Formative feedback will be given with a view to supporting student performance in the case study exam.

2) A 2 hour case study open book written exam (60%)
Three weeks prior to the examination, students will be presented with a case study that they will be asked to analyse in advance using consumer behaviour theory and wider case-relevant research. They will be allowed to annotate the case study document by hand (unless Reasonable Adjustments apply) and bring the annotated case into the examination room with them where they will be required to answer three essay questions in two hours.

Students will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate:
- Their knowledge and understanding of consumer behaviour theory (ILOs 1,2),
- Their ability to analyse the given case and evaluate the relevance and applicability of respective concepts and respond coherently to the questions in written form. (ILO 5)
- Their ability to demonstrate their critical appreciation of the difference between B2B and B2C consumption decisions (ILO4)
- Their ability to recognise the difference between consumption practices in B2B and B2C situations and evaluate the difference this might make for marketing and management decisions (ILO4)
- Their ability to evaluate the ethical implications of marketing and management action (ILO6)

Reading and References

The core text which supports this unit is:

  • Solomon, Bamossy and Askegaard and Hogg, ‘Consumer Behaviour-A European Perspective’, 5/e, Prentice Hall Europe, 2013

Additional Reading: The following is a list of some of the books from which to choose to do any wider reading. It is also worth keeping an eye on the marketing trade press titles such as Marketing, Marketing Week and Campaign and sections in the broadsheets about consumers’ behaviour and life-style and cultural trends.


  • Schiffman L and Kanuk L and Hansen H., Consumer Behaviour –A European Outlook, Prentice Hall, 2010
  • Blythe J. “Consumer Behaviour” Thomson 2008
  • Evans, Jamal, & Foxall, Consumer Behaviour, 2/e Wiley, 2009
  • Peter J.P., & Olson J. Consumer Behaviour & Marketing Strategy, 7/e, McGraw Hill 2005
  • Assael H. Consumer Behaviour – A Strategic Approach, Houghton Mifflin, 2004
  • Hower W. & MacInnis, D. Consumer Behaviour, 3/e, Houghton Mifflin, 2004
  • Solomon M. Consumer Behaviour – International Ed.5/e, Prentice Hall 2002
  • Arnould E, Price L and Zinkhan G, Consumers, 2/e,McGraw-Hill 2003
  • Desmond J. Consuming Behaviour, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003


  • Admap
  • Advances in Consumer Research
  • European Journal of Marketing
  • International Journal of Advertising
  • Journal of Consumer Behaviour
  • Journal of Consumer Research
  • Journal of Marketing Management
  • Marketing Week, available from Business Source Premier
  • Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal