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Critical Consumer Behavior


Gibbert M.

Course director

Märcz L.



Course Description

The starting point for this course is, that consumers define themselves by what they buy, and vice versa, buy based on how they define themselves. The title is Critical Consumer Behavior because the choices, which consumers make every day and every hour, have wider implications inter alia in social, environmental, and cultural spheres. Our critical interpretation includes both the academic knowledge and everyday observations of consumer behavior.

In a nutshell, consumers can influence not only their own satisfaction but also what gets produced (and how) via their consumption choices. For this course, we build on various literatures (mainstream cognitive and social psychology, economics, and management, as well as postmodernist and humanist thinking) to better understand the processes underlying this conundrum. The emphasis lies on linking deep theoretical insight with practical application, and the course provides both the tools and the context for exercising these tools.


Textbook: Solomon, Bamossy, Askegaard, and Hogg (2016). Consumer Behavior, a European Perspective. 6th edition, Pearson, ISBN-10: 1292116722 • ISBN-13: 9781292116723


NB there is a seventh edition out which doesn’t change much, except that the chapters are numbered differently!

Course Objectives

Critical Consumer Behavior has three objectives: (1) to give you access to a breadth of consumer behavior tools and topics, (2) to make enough room to develop adequate depth in key areas of your choice, and (3) to provide the space to exercise your tools in a practical way.

  • The practical objective will be achieved through your involvement in generating a concrete individual decision making process for a product or service of your choice (on another platform we use,
  • The depth objective will be achieved through giving you the opportunity, in the breakout-sessions, to apply the tools to concrete consumer behavior situations and contexts. Rather than prescribing which tools to use, this course aims at providing a selection of tools and leaving it to you to pick the tools most relevant for the problem at hand. Thus, first we ensure that you get a good overview (topic introduction) of the tools and develop a working knowledge of these tools (practice seminar), and second, we unleash you to tackle concrete examples by using the fine tools.
  • Main sessions are split into a topic introduction (recorded video) to the day’s topic, where you will learn the tools of that session, and a practice seminar (in class), where we will make sure that everyone understood these tools via your obligatory participation in “Wooclap” assessments (we will use the platform You need to watch the topic introduction video and perform the tasks provided on a rolling basis on iCorsi before coming to class.
  • The breadth objective will be achieved in the main sessions of the course in which we will look at a variety of topics relating to the consumer in the marketplace, how they behave both as individuals as well as groups, what social and cultural (as well as sub-cultural) influences play a role, and how this affects their decision making and buying behavior.



Your grade in Critical Consumer Behavior depends on how you perform both as an (1) individual, and as a (2) team member.

  • The individual performance will be evaluated through:
    1. your obligatory participation on Wooclap during the practice seminars (10%)
    2. an obligatory final, written exam at the end of the semester (70%).
  • The performance as a team member (20%) will be assessed through (a) your upload of the deliverables of your group projects on iCorsi, and includes (b) your group’s final individual decision-making process.


NB: you need to have a grade ≥6 in the final exam to pass the course. A 5 o 5.5 grade obtained on your individual performance permits you to claim credits for the course (based on article 30 of the Study Regulations 2008/09), but this score will not be put on average with the group work score.


NB: For students who do NOT participate in the group work, the overall grade consists only of the final written exam and the Wooclap participation (70% + 10% = 80%). As such, the maximum grade that can be obtained by students not participating in group work = 8.