Consumer Behaviour

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
11 June 2020


Requisites for this module
(BE400 or IA711) and BE511



Key module for

BSC N2N5 Management and Marketing (Including Foundation Year),
BSC NN25 Management and Marketing,
BSC NN2M Management and Marketing (Including Placement Year),
BSC NNF5 Management and Marketing (Including Year Abroad),
MMANNN35 Marketing and Management,
MMANNN36 Marketing and Management (Including Placement Year),
MMANNN37 Marketing and Management (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

In contemporary culture the need for marketers to be flexible and adaptable to the rapidly changing world is ever growing. As competition in markets grows and consumers make ever more demands on the companies from which they choose to purchase, marketers must be increasingly sensitive to consumers.

The module explores a variety of different theories of consumption relating to consumption in the marketplace, consumers as individuals, consumers as decision makers and consumers as social beings. The module will go beyond looking at the act of buying to consider the entire consumption cycle.

This module explores how an understanding of buyer behaviour plays an essential role in marketing strategy formulation as we consider how marketers use and apply consumer behaviour theory. Given that consumption has an increasingly important role in our daily lives, students will also be encouraged to draw on their own experiences to aid understanding of the theoretical content of the class.

Module aims

To provide students with a thorough understanding of the main theories and principles of consumer behaviour, and to show how these concepts relate to the practice of marketing.

Module learning outcomes

Module Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

1. Identify and explain key consumer behaviour theories and their relationship to practice.
2. Understand consumer behaviour as complex phenomena worthy of study for managerial purposes and in its own right.
3. Apply the knowledge necessary for further advanced study on marketing and consumer behaviour courses.

Module information

Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of the module you should be able to:

* Think Critically
* Approach and solve problems creatively
* Reflect on their own practice in relation to marketing

Learning and teaching methods

This module is normally delivered through weekly one-hour lectures and biweekly two-hour seminars. Lecture sessions will provide space for student participation through in-class discussion and debate. In academic year 2020-2021 the delivery is likely to be different and involve online learning.


  • John W. Schouten. (1991) 'Selves in Transition: Symbolic Consumption in Personal Rites of Passage and Identity Reconstruction', in Journal of Consumer Research. vol. 17 (4) , pp.412-425
  • John W. Schouten and James H. McAlexander. (1995) 'Subcultures of Consumption: An Ethnography of the New Bikers', in Journal of Consumer Research. vol. 22 (1) , pp.43-61
  • Morris B. Holbrook and Elizabeth C. Hirschman. (1982) 'The Experiential Aspects of Consumption: Consumer Fantasies, Feelings, and Fun', in Journal of Consumer Research. vol. 9 (2) , pp.132-140
  • Richard L. Celsi, Randall L. Rose and Thomas W. Leigh. (1993) 'An Exploration of High-Risk Leisure Consumption Through Skydiving', in Journal of Consumer Research. vol. 20 (1) , pp.1-23
  • Grant McCracken. (1986) 'Culture and Consumption: A Theoretical Account of the Structure and Movement of the Cultural Meaning of Consumer Goods', in Journal of Consumer Research. vol. 13 (1) , pp.71-84
  • (2018) The SAGE handbook of consumer culture, Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Eric J. Arnould and Craig J. Thompson. (2005) 'Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research', in Journal of Consumer Research. vol. 31 (4) , pp.868-882
  • Albert M. Muniz, Jr. and Thomas C. O'Guinn Albert M. Muniz, Jr. Thomas C. O'Guinn *. (2001) 'Brand Community', in Journal of Consumer Research. vol. 27 (4) , pp.412-432

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   ASSIGNMENT     
Exam  120 minutes during January (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
40% 60%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Stephen Murphy, email:
Stephen Murphy, Aneela Malik



External examiner

Mr Ben Lowe
University of Kent
Professor of Marketing
Available via Moodle
Of 50 hours, 50 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Business School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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