GRA 6446 Marketing for a Better World

GRA 6446 Marketing for a Better World

Course code: 
GRA 6446
Course coordinator: 
Nathan Warren
Course name in Norwegian: 
Marketing for a Better World
Product category: 
MSc in Strategic Marketing Management
2023 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Marketing has evolved as a management discipline to be the interface between a firm and the potential customers of its products. The practice of marketing has since permeated every aspect of society, and it has a pervasive impact on the quality of life of both current and future generations.  This course will provide a critical examination of the extent to which welfare, individual happiness, social cohesion, and sustainability are impacted by marketing and consumption, both favorably and unfavorably.  We will draw from insights developed in psychology, sociology, economics and the academic marketing discipline itself. 

The course has two major objectives within the program portfolio.  First, it tries to make students familiar with critical perspectives and scientific findings about the impact of their profession on society as a whole. Second, it tries to highlight how they can use the marketing expertise they develop in the program to not only to help firms make profits, but also help to create a better world.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The candidate:

  • Understands economic, social, and evolutionary explanations for the impact of human consumption behavior on the world’s resources, on individual happiness, and on sociality.
  • Understands a range of methodologies that have led to insight about the relationship between marketing, happiness, sociality, and sustainability.
  • Can apply theories explaining the effects of marketing on the social and natural world, and the potential for marketing to create a better world.  
Learning outcomes - Skills

The candidate:

  • can analyze and deal critically with various sources of information and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments
  • can independently analyze existing theories, methods and interpretations in the field and work on practical and theoretical problems
  • Will be able to view their own professional education and practice in the light of possible effects on society and the environment
General Competence

The candidate:

  • can communicate about academic issues, analyses and conclusions in the fields of marketing and sustainability, both with specialists and the general public
  • can present ideas and positions in oral debates and in writing. 
Course content

Issues covered in the course:

  • Marketing’s positive contribution to society. 
  • Corporate social responsibility as a marketing practice
  • Negative consequences of marketing for the world:  materialism, sexual stereotyping, overconsumption, exploitation, impulsive & compulsive buying.
  • Marketing, self-control, and the pursuit of happiness
  • Evolutionary origins of unsustainable consumer behavior
  • Social Marketing
  • Behavioral economics:  Nudging of sustainable consumer behavior.
  • Moral balancing and rebound effects
  • Political orientation and consumer behavior.
  • Marketing and the sharing economy. 
  • Recyling - circular economy - upcycling
Teaching and learning activities

The course will be heavily research based. It requires the students to directly study and process academic research papers, related to each topic, at a rate of 3 to 4 per session. Class sessions will iterate between lecturing and discussion. Lectures will introduce theory and method of the research papers. Validity, implications and consequences of the findings will be subject to discussion. Students will prepare all discussions based on dilemma questions they receive a week before each class session. They hand in their written answers 48 hours before the next session, and should be ready to explain and defend their positions in class.   

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course start.

At re-sit all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.


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.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be deviations in teaching and learning activities as well as exams, compared with what is described in this course description.


Information about what is taught on campus and other digital forms will be presented with the lecture plan before the start of the course each semester.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Class participation
1 Semester(s)
A document containing detailed criteria for how we evaluate
class-participation will be provided in class. Generally, both quantity and quality count towards the participation grade.
However, sheer quantity of comments with little depth or relevance
to focal issues will not be rewarded.
Exam code: 
GRA 64461
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Oral examination
30 Minute(s)
Exam code: 
GRA 64461
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Total weight: 
Student workload
36 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
123 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.