Note: Each section must have a separate syllabus.] [Day & Time / ex: Monday, 6pm-9pm] [Start & End Date / ex: 3/24/15-5/12/15] [Semester / ex: Fall 2016] [Location / ex: Washington, dc] Instructor

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BU.420.710.XX – Consumer Behavior – Instructor’s Name – Page of

Consumer Behavior

2 Credits
[NOTE: Each section must have a separate syllabus.]
[Day & Time / ex: Monday, 6pm-9pm]

[Start & End Date / ex: 3/24/15-5/12/15]

[Semester / ex: Fall 2016]

[Location / ex: Washington, DC]


[Full Name]

Contact Information

[Phone Number, (###) ###-####]

[Email Address]
Office Hours


Required Texts & Learning Materials

Hoyer, MacInnis and Pieters (2013), Consumer Behavior, 6th Edition, Mason Ohio: South-Western, Cengage Learning, ISBN 13: 978-1-133-43521-1

Additional Required Readings

  1. Electronic copies of required materials used in this course must be purchased from Harvard Business Publishing. Select only one of the following course packs for purchase. Students can determine team assignments by viewing the “Group” tab within Blackboard.

  • Required readings, plus Case #9-596-039 (CB Exercise A)

  • Required readings, plus Case #9-596-040 (CB Exercise B)

  • Required readings, plus Case #9-596-041 (CB Exercise C)

  1. The exam case must be purchased by all students from Case Centre:

  • Case #512-014-1, “Axe Detailer: Initiating a Change in Men’s Showering Behavior”

  1. Electronic copies of additional assigned articles are available on Blackboard under the E-Reserves tab.

NOTE: A complete list of additional required reading materials appears on the last page of this syllabus.

Course Description and Overview

Based on findings in psychology and sociology, this course provides students with a solid foundation in consumers’ decision making. Topics include consumers' knowledge and involvement, attention, comprehension, learning, attitude, and purchase intention. Strong emphasis is given to the design and modeling of response patterns, diffusion of innovations, and consumer behavior for specific products and services. Also explored is the practical impact of consumer behavior analysis on marketing mix strategies, market segmentation/positioning, brand loyalty, persuasion process and promotion.


BU.410.620 OR BU.911.611

Learning Objectives

All Carey graduates are expected to demonstrate competence on four Learning Goals, operationalized in eight Learning Objectives. These learning goals and objectives are supported by the courses Carey offers. To view the complete list of Carey Business School’s general learning goals and objectives, visit the Teaching & Learning@Carey website.

The learning objectives for this course are:

  1. Enable students to describe the concept of consumer behavior and its role in today’s marketing environment and marketing planning.

  2. Help students understand basic principles and concepts used in studying marketplace behavior.

  3. Introduce students to a variety of psychological theories and models that can explain and predict customer behavior and the role of verbal and non-verbal communications in marketplace exchanges.

  4. Equip students with the requisite skills for critically evaluating and using cutting-edge consumer research to examine marketplace behavior and develop data-driven marketing decisions.

Assignments & Rubrics

Graded assignments are listed in the table below, followed by a brief description of each course component.

 Grading rubrics for all assignments are posted on Blackboard. Students should carefully review the grading criteria at the beginning of the term to understand how individual and group performance will be assessed for each assignment.


Learning Objectives

Weight (%)

Class Participation

1, 2


Case Exam

1, 2, 4


Individual Interpretive Assignments

  • Nonverbal communications analysis

  • Consumer decision making interview

1, 2, 3


Consumer Observation Mini-Project

  • Team Written Report (weighted 85%)

  • Team Presentation (weighted 15%)

2, 3, 4


Peer Evaluation

Will influence individual grades if warranted.



Attendance & Class Participation (15%)

Student performance is evaluated weekly based on attendance, active class participation, completion of field assignments, quizzes and contribution to weekly discussion topics. Regular attendance is the minimum requirement for successful completion of this course. While excessive absences will significantly impact a student’s learning, it will indeed have serious consequences for one’s final grade. In this course, “excused absences” are a misnomer and makeup work is never available.

Students should check Blackboard weekly to obtain materials, such as discussion questions, videos or news articles, or field assignments that may serve as the basis for class discussions. Blackboard will notify students when new discussion materials have been posted.
The participation rubric can also be used by students to conduct a weekly self-assessment of their class participation. Additionally, participation points will be earned for completing weekly field assignments when applicable.
In-Class Exam (25%)

In Week 7, a closed book/closed computer exam consisting of short answer and essay questions related to a particular marketing case will be administered in-class. Students are expected to draw on knowledge derived from independent thoughts, assigned reading materials and class discussions to further analyze the behavioral issues and marketing challenges suggested by the case narrative. A thorough understanding of fundamental consumer behavior concepts, theories, frameworks and measures and their application to marketing is the only way to ensure outstanding performance on the case-based exam.

Individual Interpretive Assignments (25%)

Students will complete two independent exercises to explore actual consumer behavior practices and apply commonly used behavioral research tools to gather customer insights. Each assignment entails producing a 2-page, single-spaced written analysis that addresses questions about a specific consumer behavior activity.

 Detailed guidelines and designated reading materials for each of the following assignments are posted on Blackboard.
Assignment 1

Nonverbal Communications Analysis – Students will assume an observer’s role as they examine two video-based marketing transactions that the instructor has selected to help them understand the influence of nonverbal communications in a (a) consumer and (b) B-2-B marketing exchange. Because buyer and seller exchanges are complex social interactions that are defined by a myriad of verbal and nonverbal clues and signals, students are asked to apply psychological concepts and theories to analyze and interpret such interactions.
Assignment 2

Consumer Decision Making Interview – Students will conduct a customer interview to explore the “lived customer experience” and to examine a consumer behavior phenomenon through a psychological lens. The in-depth interview is to focus on a purchase of a specific product/service. Students will then analyze the key behavioral research findings, apply theoretical concepts, ascribe meaning to the purchase experience and discuss managerial insights. (2 single-spaced page maximum)

  • The instructor will assign students to one of three consumer behavior exercises for this assignment, which can be found at the HBR link contained on page 1.

Field Observation Team Mini-Project (35%)

Student teams of five or fewer students will examine a distinct consumer behavior phenomenon and produce a written report and presentation that summarizes the underlying theory, field observations and marketing implications. Teams are urged to start work on the mini project early in the term. Doing so will help teams identify and leverage course content that is relevant to the research project.

Students will submit individual peer evaluations of team members at the conclusion of the project. Individual grades may be adjusted downward to reflect group consensus about marginal or poor performance of specific team members.
Mini-Project Instructions

Teams will work on a consumer behavior research project starting in Week 1. The assignment will give students an opportunity to examine consumer behavior pertaining to a contemporary or emerging behavioral phenomenon. In drawing theoretical and practical implications from the study of a specific behavioral phenomenon, students will learn more about internal and external factors impacting consumer decision making, understand the complexity of marketplace behavior and explore how the art and science of consumer research is used to change customer behavior.

  • Week 3 Deadline: Team project topics must be finalized and approved by the instructor. Each team must submit a short written paper describing its original idea and preliminary interpretation of a consumer behavior phenomenon. The summary should include two very relevant references from established news sources or academic journals that provide actual evidence or theoretical knowledge of the consumer behavior research phenomenon. (1 single-spaced page maximum)

  • Week 5 Deadline: Teams must submit a summary of the research approach being used to conduct a field experiment. (2-page maximum)

 Detailed instructions for each deliverable are posted on Blackboard.

The Written Field Observation Mini-Project Report (25%)

The team report will consist of an 8-page single-spaced page paper that adheres to the following outline:

Packaging (required materials that are not included in the maximum page count)

  • Cover page, including project topic, course title and term and team member names

  • Executive summary, less than one page

  • Table of contents with page numbers


  1. Project Description: a brief overview of the research project will include a broad description of the behavioral phenomenon, a brief discussion of its influence on consumer behavior and decision making and a summary of its potential impact on business (e.g., specific companies or industries) and society.

  1. Secondary Research: based on the analysis of relevant secondary data, teams will conduct a brief literature review to examine a particular behavior. The purpose of this in-depth analysis is to document information that describes the behavioral phenomenon in its various forms and to discuss theoretical ideas, models or frameworks that can explain when, why or how the behavior occurs. Additionally, secondary research will help teams identify social, cultural or other environmental influences that can help marketers understand the behavioral phenomenon.

  1. Primary Research Design, Data Analysis and Interpretation: following a solid grounding of the behavioral phenomenon, the team is to take its investigation into the field – into the real word – to document evidence of consumers in action. The purpose of obtaining current evidence from real consumers is to bring the behavioral phenomenon to life by identifying relevant social, psychological and behavioral influences. This limited exploratory research will be conducted using observational research methods which are often used to capture consumers’ behavior in a natural setting. Resources for understanding the mechanics of conducting observational research will be posted on Blackboard and discussed throughout the term. Refer to Hoyer, Macinnis and Pieters (2013, Chapter 1 Appendix) for an overview of consumer research methods. Additional guidelines and tips for analyzing observational data will be provided.

  1. Attitude/Behavioral Change Strategy: after analyzing data gathered during Stage 2 and 3 above, students will develop a strategy for creating or changing current attitudes and/or behaviors regarding the behavioral phenomenon. Discussion of attitude formation and attitude change is covered by Hoyer, McInnis and Pieters (2013, Chapters 5-6) while related topics on behavioral change is addressed by Cialdini (2001).

  1. Marketing Insights: teams should identify at least one significant and novel finding about the consumer behavior phenomenon. This insight(s) should become the basis for producing a recommendation to help a) marketing managers understand consumers more generally and b) improve marketing practices in a given marketing setting or industry.

  1. References (not included in page count)

  • Minimum of 10 references required (NOTE: each team member should share at least two relevant trade or academic references for inclusion in the mini-research project proposal due at the end of Week 3. This content will likely serve as foundational content for the final report.)

  1. Appendix (8-page maximum)

  • Attach copies of any primary data collection guides, data summary tables, pictures or other supporting materials.

Research Note 1: An initial search for timely and relevant consumer behavior topics should target trade and popular press publications such as Psychology Today, Brand Week, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, AMA Marketing News, Sloan Management Review, Slate Magazine, Fast Company, McKinsey Quarterly, provide a wealth of information on consumer behavior and marketplace developments.
Research Note 2: appropriate secondary resources for this project include but are not limited to peer-reviewed academic journals such as The Journal of Consumer Research, The Journal of Marketing, Marketing Science, Marketing Letters, The Journal of Retailing, The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Psychology and Marketing, Journal of Advertising, The Journal of Service Research, The Journal of Consumer Affairs, and The Journal of Marketing and Public Policy that provide theoretical treatment of consumer behavior topics. Additionally, journals from the field of social psychology, sociology and economics also contain extensive treatment of consumer behavior topics as well. Theoretical models, conceptual ideas and empirical evidence are critical resources for developing the research topic for this assignment. Do NOT wait until the last minute to conduct secondary research as the amount of information available on any consumer behavior topic could be overwhelming.
Research Note 3: information obtained from blogs, commercial websites and other online resources (e.g., Wikipedia, LinkedIn) that primarily represent independent opinions and thoughts written by “self-proclaimed” experts or other “unidentified” sources are to be used minimally in the written report (no more than 3% of all referenced materials). Refer to APA guidelines for properly citing all information sources.
Mandatory APA guidelines. All secondary information sources such as journals, magazine articles, websites and industry reports must be properly acknowledged and formatted with in-text citations of the original source and an organized list of references. Please strictly adhere to APA guidelines for formatting and documenting information sources used in the project report.

All written submissions will be processed through Turnitin, the plagiarism detection software used at Carey Business School. Teams should also subject the final written paper to Turnitin to ensure proper use and citation of secondary sources. Instances of plagiarism will be reported immediately to the Honor Council.

Team Written Report Requirements

  • Typewritten; 12-point font; one inch margins on all sides

  • Include page numbers, staple pages

  • Written text cannot exceed required page limit; include additional info in appendix, if necessary

Team Mini-Project Presentation (10%)

Each team will deliver a 10-minute presentation followed by a 5-minute Q&A period. They will produce an original storyboard promoting the attitude change recommendation. Storyboarding is a creative and effective tool for selling new ideas [see storyboarding examples (1) (2) (3) (4)]. Teams are encouraged to use imagination and creativity to integrate low-tech/high tech resources to produce a persuasive storyboard. Limited use of traditional PowerPoint slides is permitted for: (1) introducing the project topic, (2) highlighting the key psychological, behavioral and social influences, (3) inserting imagery or (4) summarizing the managerial relevance of research findings. Otherwise, the use of text-heavy Power Point slides is prohibited.


The grade of A is reserved for those who demonstrate extraordinarily excellent performance. The grade of A- is awarded only for excellent performance. The grade for good performance in this course is a B+/B. The grades of D+, D, and D- are not awarded at the graduate level. Please refer to the Carey Business School’s Student Handbook for grade appeal information.

Tentative Course Calendar*






Course Overview

CB Research Methods/Field Research

Read: HMP – 1 & Appendix 17


Attention and Comprehension

Read: HMP - 2,3 & 4

Read: Sundaram and Webster (2000)

Read: Puccinelli, Motyka and Grewal (2010)


Cognition, Attitudes and Persuasion

Attitude Change

Read: HMP Text - 5 & 6

Read: Cialdini (2001)

DUE: Project topic and description

DUE: Individual Paper 1: Nonverbal Communications


Consumer Decision Making and Learning

Read: HMP Text - 7, 8 & 9

Read: Gershoff and Johar (2006)

Read: Connor (2005)

DUE: Individual Paper 2 (HBR Case; Deighton & Fournier 1997)


Psychographics & Personality

Read: HMP Text – 14

Mini-Project Review

DUE: Team Research Design


Consumer Culture and the Social Environment

Symbolic Consumption

Read: HMP Text – 11 & 16

Markus and Conner (Book Chapter)

Mini-Project Data Analysis


In-Class Case Exam

Case: Axe Detailer


Project Presentations

DUE: Written Team Mini-Project Report, Storyboard Presentation, Peer Evaluations

*Instructors reserve the right to alter course content and/or adjust the pace to accommodate class progress. Students are responsible for keeping up with all adjustments to the course calendar.

+HMP Text = Hoyer, MacInnis and Pieters required textbook

Required Case Studies (students will purchase only one of the exercises below)

ID Number






“Consumer Behavior Exercise (A)” or

“Consumer Behavior Exercise (B)” or

“Consumer Behavior Exercise (C)”

Deighton and Fournier (1997) / Harvard Business Review
(NOTE: students will purchase only one of the exercises included in this section)


“Axe Detailer: Initiating a Change in Men’s Showering Behavior”

Purkayastha and Syeda Qumar (2012) / IBS Center for Management Research

Additional Readings

Week Assigned




Week 2

“The Role of Nonverbal Communication in Service Encounters”
“Can You Trust a Customer’s Expression? Insights into Nonverbal Communication in the Retail Context”

Sundaram and Webster (2000) / Journal of Services Marketing
Puccinelli, Motyka and Grewal (2010) / Psychology and Marketing

Week 3

“Harnessing the Science of Persuasion”

Cialdini (2001) / Harvard Business Review

Week 4

“Do You Know Me? Consumer Calibration of Friends’ Knowledge”
“Emotions and Feelings: Drivers of Consumer Behavior”

Gershoff and Johar (2006) / Journal of Consumer Research
Connor (2005) / Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA)

Week 6

“Clash: 8 Cultural Conflicts that Make Us Who We Are” (Introduction chapter only)

Markus and Conner (Book Chapter)

Carey Business School

Policies and General Information

Blackboard Site

A Blackboard course site is set up for this course. Each student is expected to check the site throughout the semester as Blackboard will be the primary venue for outside classroom communications between the instructors and the students. Students can access the course site at Support for Blackboard is available at 1-866-669-6138.

Course Evaluation

As a research and learning community, the Carey Business School is committed to continuous improvement. The faculty strongly encourages students to provide complete and honest feedback for this course. Please take this activity seriously; we depend on your feedback to help us improve. Information on how to complete the evaluation will be provided toward the end of the course.

Disability Services

Johns Hopkins University and the Carey Business School are committed to making all academic programs, support services, and facilities accessible. To determine eligibility for accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at time of admission and allow at least four weeks prior to the beginning of the first class meeting. Students should contact Priscilla Mint in the Disability Services Office by phone at 410-234-9243, by fax at 443-529-1552, or by email.

Honor Code/Code of Conduct

All students are expected to view the Carey Business School Honor Code/Code of Conduct tutorial and submit their pledge online. Students who fail to complete and submit the pledge will have a registrar’s hold on their account. Please contact the student services office via email if you have any questions.

Students are not allowed to use any electronic devices during in-class tests. Calculators will be provided if the instructor requires them for test taking. Students must seek permission from the instructor to leave the classroom during an in-class test. Test scripts must not be removed from the classroom during the test.
Other Important Academic Policies and Services

Students are strongly encouraged to consult the Carey Business School’s Student Handbook and Academic Catalog and Student Resources for information regarding the following items:

  • Statement of Diversity and Inclusion

  • Student Success Center

  • Inclement Weather Policy

Copyright Statement

Unless explicitly allowed by the instructor, course materials, class discussions, and examinations are created for and expected to be used by class participants only. The recording and rebroadcasting of such material, by any means, is forbidden. Violations are subject to sanctions under the Honor Code.

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