This course has a number of goals and objectives, including:
- To appreciate how understanding consumers leads to competitive advantages
- To introduce current knowledge of both substantive findings and theory about consumer behavior
- To provide concepts for understanding consumer reactions to marketing stimuli
- To improve the ability to identify potential applications of consumer behavior concepts and to utilize those concepts in analyzing marketing problems and determining marketing strategy
- To foster connections between consumer behavior variables and marketing research techniques.
Out of all the subjects that you as a business
student might encounter during your studies, consumer behavior is the one you
have the most intimate first-hand knowledge of. You were a consumer long before starting your studies - you might even be an outright expert in some consumption field, such as your favorite hobby. Yet this familiarity
with consumption sometimes makes it difficult to develop a necessary critical
or analytical distance.
the concepts presented during the course will be numerous, I will actively
encourage reflection, criticism, deeper exploration, and creative applications
based on your own interests. This should also sensitize you to understand that
when it comes to understanding consumer behavior, there is no one correct answer;
rather different perspectives and explanations are often complementary.
Course format and requirements
The course will consist of lectures, discussions, a group project, presentations, and article analyses. There is no final exam, but the 6 credits equals approximately 160 hours of work. Lectures make up only for 24 hours, so you will spend 136 hours reading, writing, and doing assignments.
In the table below is a likely allocation of the hours:
|Article analysis (inc. reading and writing)||8 hours
|Planning the presentation and class discussion
|Group project (incl. group meetings, review of
relevant literature, empirical work (when applicable),
preparing for the pitch session and poster session,
and writing the final report)
Attendance and participation
Class participation is an important part of the learning experience of this course. There are no formulas for attacking marketing problems; through discussion you should learn to ask the right questions and see how others approach answering such questions. Prior to each class, I expect each student to read the assigned chapters, the assigned articles, and to prepare any cases or other assignments. I also expect each student to be prepared to fully participate in class discussions.
Attendance will not be formally tracked (except for the pitch session and the poster session) but after each class you are expected to return a short summary on how you contributed to the class. Meaningful, active participation can earn you up to 5% extra points towards you final grade.
Also, from the second lecture on, you will be given a short assignments based on the compulsory readings, which make up 20% of the final grade (8 in total, 2,5% of the final grade each). These assignements will be short essays or quizzes, and they are done individually in the beginning or during each class. If you miss a class for an acceptable reason (see below), you may
complete an alternative assignment, which will be a longer essay based
on the recommended readings. If you miss a class for any other reason,
no alternative assignements will be available, and you will not get the points towards your final grade
The pitch session and the poster session are compulsory, and attendace will be taken. Each one is a 2 percentage-point reduction in your participation grade.
If you do miss a class, it is your responsibility to get notes, assignments, exercises, or other
materials from another student.
*Please let me know as soon as possible if you have an acceptable reason for being absent (i.e. acute personal illness, medical appointment, court appointment, or funeral service). Work duties, family duties, attending sports events, poor time management, assignments for other classes, or personal travel are not acceptable reasons. Missing a class does not excuse you from or change assignment due dates.
There will be four types of assignments of this course:
- Class assignments
- Article analyses
- Article presentation and class discussion facilitation
- Group project
Please refer to the section Assignments and deliverables on the navigation pane on the left for detailed description and due dates.
Course policies in and out the classroom
No cheating of any kind will be tolerated - this includes plagiarism, but any other forms of cheating such as:
- Buying written papers or analyses from suppliers online or offline
- Writing with fellow classmates on assignments meant to be done individually.
- Copying other group's work, including their ideas, and turning them in as your own
- Not using citations when referring to other people's work, or not using quotation marks for any direct quotes
If you are not sure, ask!
written assignments are to be done individually.They are not a collaborative effort. Any work turned in with the same answers and
showing a clear pattern of collaborative effort will be considered cheating and
will be dealt with according to the rules dictated by Aalto University.
- Be on time! If you have to be late, or if you have to leave early, do so discreetly and sit nearby the door.
- Turn your electronic devices on silent
- I do not forbid the use of laptops, tablets, or phones in class, but I expect you to use them discreetly
- If you are expecting an
important phone call and have to keep your ring tone on, please let me know beforehand.
Please leave the classroom to engage in any such personal
- If you want to take photos or make a voice recording during a class, it is professinal courtesy to ask for a permission.
- Be courteous towards you class mates
- In class this mean listening to others, not interrupting them when they speak, and participating in any exercises and discussions other groups have designed.
- When doing group work, pull your own weight: participate equally, follow mutually agreed upon deadlines, do your very best. You are not only responsible for your own grade, but for your mates' as well!
- Be courteous in your communication with the instructor(s)
- Before you email the instructor to ask about practicalities, read the syllabus. Only contact the instructor if the question is not answered in the syllabus, or if you need clarification
- Do not ask for special treatment, such as extra assignments to make up for missed ones, because 1) the instructor has to treat everyone equally - therefore accommodations can only be made in special cases (such as disabilities) and 2) extra assignments for students actually mean extra work for the instructor
- Ariely, Dan. (2008) Predictably irrational. New York: HarperCollins.
- McCracken, Grant. (2011) Chief culture officer: How to create a living, breathing corporation.
Buying a copy for these books is
highly recommended. Cheap copies are available on paperback on Amazon, for
In addition, a selection of readings of journal articles have been assigned. The list is provided in assignment section.
Thaler, Richard H. & Sunstein, Cass R. (2008) Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness
On the course you can
earn max. 100 points, ie. 100% of the grade.
Here's a rough breakdown for the grade (please check the assignment section for more details):
|Assignment|| % of the final grade
|Presentation and facilitation of discussion
The points will be converted to the final grade as follows:
|90 points and over||5|
|80 to 89 points||4|
|70 to 79 points||3|
|60 to 69 points||2|
|50 to 59 points||1
points and under
Indicate that you have read and understood the syllabus by sending the instructor a funny cartoon related to consumer behavior and/or research.