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MSB103 Consumer Behavior

Course description for academic year 2023/2024

Contents and structure

The course is designed to enable students to understand why people buy what they buy, and what influences their consumption. Consumption is so prevalent that we are often unaware of its importance in shaping our lives. This course adopts a social-psychological approach to consumer behaviour and, with case study examples from marketing practice and consumer research, explores the potentially complementary experience of the individual consumer, cultures of consumption and marketing activity.

The course covers the following topics:

  • People as consumers: Emergence and development of Consumer society and culture.
  • Consumer decision making: Choosing and consuming products.
  • Contemporary models of consumer behaviour.
  • Perceptions, learning, and cognition.
  • Motivation, personality, lifestyles and values.
  • The self, self image and extended self.
  • Attitude and persuasive communication.
  • The influence of income and social class.
  • Family, group, social and social media influences.
  • Ethical and Green consumerism
  • Culture’s influence on consumer behavior and subcultural consumptions.

Learning Outcome


Upon completion of the course, the student:

  • has advanced knowledge within marketing and specialized insight into consumption in society, processes of innovation adoption and related consumer behaviour.
  • can apply consumer theory to new areas within marketing and economics.
  • has thorough knowledge about factors influencing consumer behavior in different cases, contexts and settings.
  • can analyze marketing innovation problems on the basis of the history, traditions, distinctive character and place in society of consumer behaviour.


Upon completion of the course, the student:

  • can analyze and deal critically with various sources of consumer data and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments.
  • can analyze existing theories, methods and interpretations in the field and work independently on practical and theoretical problems.
  • has a solid understanding of the central importance of consumer behaviours to businesses, marketing professionals and market innovators.
  • can use relevant methods for research and scholarly development work in an independent manner.
  • can carry out an independent, limited research or development project under supervision and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics in consumer behaviour.

General Competence

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • apply current thinking in consumer behavior.
  • advise and consult on the implications of marketing tactics in a given consumer studies context.
  • analyze relevant academic, professional and research ethical problems
  • communicate extensive independent work and master language and terminology of the consumer research field.
  • communicate about academic issues, analyses and conclusions in the field, both with specialists and the general public.
  • contribute to new thinking and innovation processes in Critical Consumer Theory and Consumer Behaviour.

Entry requirements

Admission to Master`s Programme in Business

Recommended previous knowledge

The students should have basic knowledge of marketing, evidenced by passing a marketing introduction course in their bachelor progam.

Teaching methods

The teaching format of the course is a combination of lectures, problem solving, discussions of articles/cases and in-class exercises. Students are expected to participate in Individual and team presentations of course literature, discussion on case studies/articles and seminar.

A research term paper is to be written in groups of maximum three, which will constitute 60% of the grade. A proposal outlining the ideas for the paper should be submitted soon after the course begins and discussed with the instructor before going forward. The group authored term paper should aim to be sent to a conference or journal upon completion. The paper could take a critical look at "a" theory, or theories, and evolution thereof, the literature and applications that have grown out of it, and its contemporary validity, however students can develop their own ideas. Regular seminar sessions will be held for discussions on progress of the papers. Presentations of paper proposals, and discussions on incremental progress on papers are strongly advised during seminar sessions so ideas can be shared and new perspectives are learnt by all.

An individual final skuleexam will be held at course end which will count for the rest 40% of the grade. The course will be conducted in english, and all coursework and examinations are to be submitted in english.

Compulsory learning activities

The students will be required to submit two critical reviews of journal articles from different topic areas. The reviews should be done in groups of maximum of three, and would be graded approved/not approved and will constitute the arbeidskrav, approved which is a requisite for sitting in the final exam. The students will have to discuss the submissions in seminars.


Evaluation in two parts:

  1. Individual written examination, 5 hours (40% of the final assessment).
  2. One term paper (60% of the final assessment). The term paper should be written in a group of maximum three.

Grading scale is A-F where F is fail.

Examination support material

All written and printed aids are allowed if the final exam form is home examination.

Help aides are not allowed if it is school exam on campus. Approved online dictionary can be used.

Term paper - All written and printed materials allowed

More about examination support material