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.

    A bachelor degree qualifying for admission to the MSc Programme.

    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
    It's learning

    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
    To get a final grade in the course, students need to complete and achieve a passing grade in all parts of the evaluation.

    In this course class attendence is mandatory. Absence can result in a lower score. Specific information regarding student evaluation will be provided in class. This information may be relevant for requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several elements of the overall evaluation.

    This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam elements) and one final exam code. Each exam element will be graded using points on a scale (e.g. 0-100). The elements will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades on the course site in It’s learning.

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

    Examination support materials
    Examination support materials at written examiniations are explained under examination information in the student portal @bi. Please note use of calculator and dictionary in the section on support materials.

    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.
    Where this is not the case, all of the assessed components of the course must be retaken.
    All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee.

    Additional information
    Honor Code
    Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and represent values that are encouraged and promoted by the honor code system. This is a most significant university tradition. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the ideals of the honor code system, to which the faculty are also deeply committed.

    Any violation of the honor code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for cheating. These issues are a serious matter to everyone associated with the programs at BI and are at the heart of the honor code and academic integrity. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honor code, please ask.