GRA 2418 Understanding the Consumer: Current Limitations and Future Directions of Theory and Method


GRA 2418 Understanding the Consumer: Current Limitations and Future Directions of Theory and Method

Responsible for the course
Erik Olson

Department of Marketing

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction


Learning outcome
This course is designed to expose students to the research work of the marketing faculty and other issues and research streams that comprise the field of consumer behavior. The course is article based, with selections from the research in progress of marketing faculty and other papers from some of the most well-known and respected journals covering marketing issues.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Compulsory reading

The list of articles will be made available prior to course start

A selection of scientific articles from journals as for example Jounal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Retailing

During the course there may be hand-outs and other material on additional topics relevant for the course and the examination.

Recommended reading

Course outline
The design of the course is meant to encourage discussion of the issues, theories and methods that are used and tested in the study of consumer behavior. While topics for this course can change from year to year depending on the research currently being done in the marketing department and other factors, some examples of past topics include the discussion of:

- Branding – alternative means of measuring the impact of brand knowledge on behavior
- Culture – how do cultures differ in terms of reactions to humor, materialism, pressure to conform?
- Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty – alternative definitions and measures, do loyalty programs work?
- Internet – impact of Internet as a source of product information, Electronic Word of Mouth, as a sales channel, and a marketing research tool.
- Risk – objective versus subjective risk and its impact on behavior
- Sources of Deviant Consumption Behavior – can we get people to stop smoking, taking drugs, etc.?
- Sponsorship Effects Measurement – how do firms know they are getting what they paid for?
- Market Orientation – how do you get an entire organization to focus on customers and competition?
- Cause Related Marketing - marketing good things for society while promoting your own firm.

Computer-based tools
Not applicable

Learning process and workload
Each session of the course will offer discussion and critical review of the latest research on important and emerging issues in marketing. Students are expected to be well prepared for each discussion by reading the assigned article list. Students will also be responsible for developing a research design paper on a topic of their choosing which may also prove to be an excellent way to develop a thesis topic. This research design will also be the basis for a short student presentation to the class, where feedback from the instructor and classmates can help in improving the final paper.

A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours.

Please note that it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on the course homepage/It's learning or text book.

Your course grade will be based on the following activities and weights:
30 % - Class Participation
50 % - Research Proposal Paper, in a group of up to 3 students
20 % - Proposal Presentation

Form of assessment Weight Group size
Class participation 30%
Assignment 50% Group of max 3 students
Presentation 20% Group of max 3 students

Specific information regarding student assessment will be provided in class. This information may be relevant to requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several components of the overall assessment. This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded using points on a scale from 0-100. The final grade for the course is based on the aggregated mark of the course components. Each component is weighted as detailed in the course description. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the points system and the mapping scale in the student portal @bi. Candidates may be called in for an oral hearing as a verification/control of written assignments.

Examination code(s)
GRA 24181 continuous assessment accounts for 100 % of the final grade in the course GRA 2418.

Examination support materials

Permitted examination support materials for written examinations are detailed under examination information in the student portal @bi. The section on support materials and the use of calculators and dictionaries should be paid special attention to.

Re-sit examination
It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught. The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code. Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes. All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee. Please note that you need to retake the latest version of the course with updated course literature and assessment. Please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with the latest course description.

Additional information
Honour code. Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and are values that are integral to BI's honour code system. Students are responsible for familiarising themselves with the honour code system, to which the faculty is deeply committed. Any violation of the honour code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for academic misconduct. Issues of academic integrity are taken seriously by everyone associated with the programmes at BI and are at the heart of the honour code. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honour code, please ask. The learning platform itslearning is used in the teaching of all courses at BI. All students are expected to make use of itslearning.