Dr Heather Kappes
For many companies, non-profit organisations, and political figures, success relies on understanding the “consumers.” What is it that they really want, and why? What information will they attend to, and what will they ignore? How do they make decisions, why do they sometimes make bad ones, and how can we help them make better ones? It can be tempting to answer these questions intuitively, based on your own experiences as a consumer. However, intuitions about human psychology are often wrong.
The course will provide an introduction to the basic theories for understanding consumer behaviour. Different from traditional business management courses which often skim, we dig deeper into all the fundamental psychological theories so that you have a thorough understanding of the root theories on which many consumer insights are based. Using a variety of methods, we will cover fundamental research pertaining to all stages of the consumer experience —from (a) seeking and acquiring information, to (b) evaluating it and using it to form attitudes and make decisions, to (c) translating those attitudes and decisions into behaviour (or not), to (d) assessing past experiences and using the assessment to inform future behaviour.
We will use concrete business case studies and examples (e.g. from the NYT, WSJ, FT, BBC and other current sources) for illustration and to apply the theories under examination. Since these theories apply equally to individual and group decision making situations, the material provides a useful framework for understanding related issues like managerial decision making as well as consumer behaviour. This course should be especially useful to people without extensive previous study of psychology.
Kardes, Cronley & Cline, Consumer Behavior: Science and Practice (International edition), South Western College, 2010.
Lectures: 36 hours Classes: 12 hours
Assessment: Final written examination (70%) and coursework (30%) that will allow you to apply the theories studied in class to real consumer issues