Consumer Behavior Syllabus

 Consumer Behavior 53:630:510  - Spring 2006
 Dr. Carol Kaufman-Scarborough -  Office:  Business and Science 219
Section 01: Thursday 6:00 -  8:40

1. My office at school is Business and Science 219.  I am usually in my Rutgers office several days a week. Please send me an email or call my cell if you need to reach me in an emergency.  Rutgers Office Phone: 856-225 6592 / Rutgers Fax:  856-225 6231/ Cell Phone:  856-577-8767

2. Office Hours:  I’m in my office most days working as Undergraduate Program Director and plan to stay until 6 pm several days of the week. I will also hold office hours specifically for our class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 until 6 pm. Also by appointment – please email me.

3. Text: Shopper, Buyer, and Consumer Behavior, third edition, by Jay D. Lindquist and M. Joseph Sirgy. They are both noted for their research and leadership in Consumer Behavior. Jay is one of my coauthors and he is a frequent consultant with businesses in Michigan. Joe is the founder of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies. Their text is innovative, interactive, and well-balanced in theory, research, and practical applications. We’ll often use the text in class and will be able to pull it up interactively.

Our perspective in this course is managerial. While we will examine and discuss major consumer behavior concepts and measures, we will emphasize their applications to real-world business situations. Please feel free to bring in problems that your own businesses may be facing that are related to consumer behavior.

4. Prerequisite: 630:508 Marketing Management or equivalent

5. Course Description:  How does the study of consumer behavior help consumer product firms, health care marketers, entertainment providers, and other types of service businesses understand and serve their customers? What concepts and frameworks help us to understand our customers? What tools can be used in our companies? What types of consumer research can be done in our company or purchased from a marketing research provider?

These and other questions will be addressed in this course in relation to decisions by actual firms. We’ll study the ways that consumers make decisions, how they find and evaluate alternatives, and how they purchase and use products. We’ll consider what they do when they’re satisfied and what happens when they are not!  In particular, we’ll study a group of psychological variables that can provide useful information about consumers: such as how they learn, what they perceive, and how they choose to live their lifestyles. In addition, we’ll consider the impacts of the groups that they belong to: such as how their families, social groups, and ethnicities affect what they buy. When you have completed this course, you will have learned how major firms utilize consumer research in their own strategies and hopefully how to apply consumer research in your own firm. Every attempt will be made to stress the relevance of course ideas and skills as part of your MBA.

There will be three assignments due in this course.  The first is in lieu of a midterm, and asks you to individually investigate our academic consumer research topics and examine their ability to contribute to managerial decisions.. The second requires that you participate in a Consumer Research Roundtable on a specific night in class. The third asks you to work in a group on a topic in consumer behavior. This latter topic will be given out in a subsequent class.

My research in Consumer Behavior focuses on three major topics:  consumer perception and use of time, the experiences of consumers with disabilities, and consumer behaviors within subcultures. I’ll share some of my research with you throughout the semester.

Course Evaluation
Class Participation   Every class!  10 points
Midterm Assignment and Presentation  February 23rd  20 points
In-Class Roundtables  Your assigned night 20 points
Term Project   April 20th  30 points
Final Examination  Thursday, May 4th, 6 pm to 9 pm 20 points
TOTAL          100 points


The Objectives of this course are:

1. To provide you with a conceptual base for understanding the behavior of consumers within the marketing system in a society. Actual marketing research of corporations will be considered in developing the applications side of the consumer topics discussed in class.

2.  To explain and define the frameworks which contribute to understanding consumer behavior as it affects and influences business activities involving the sale of goods and services in the marketplace. Course participants will be given the opportunity to research this problem first hand by participating in ongoing consumer research.

3. Sometime consumer behavior techniques are criticized as being deceptive; in other words, they lead the consumer to buy things that they may not need or want.  Several extreme cases can be considered:  compulsive shopping, excessive dieting, substance abuse, and so forth.  These important topics will be discussed; you may find yourself involved in a business decision that requires that you consider the ethics and social responsibility of the marketing decisions which you will make.

Class Participation:  Class participation is encouraged and sought.  This is your class and you should make it as interesting as possible.  In terms of grading, it is assumed that everyone starts out in the middle, with 5 out of the 10 points for class participation and individuals can then move up or down.  Note, your class participation points will be assigned at the end of the course. Here are some ways you can impact your grade:

Positive influences                              Negative influences
     Constructive discussion                              Disruption of class (talking, cell phones, etc.)
     Regular attendance                                     Lack of attendance
     Preparation for class discussions             Just sitting there – no preparation
     Original work                                                Cheating, plagiarism (from others, off the web, etc.)

Late Work, Absences, Etc.: Most MBA classes that I have taught will have some students who, because of work-related obligations, will have to miss at least one night. If you fall into this category, please see me!  We will work out a schedule if the situation warrants it.  Course notes are posted t this URL:

Policies:  Assigned chapters, exercises, online reserve readings, and cases should be read prior to their discussion in class.  Class meetings will organize consumer behavior concepts, clarify the material and correlate real exam¬ples from the business world.  Excessive absences will be reflected in the final grade.  All as¬signments must be handed in on time; late work will receive reduced credit.  No makeup exams will be scheduled without prior notification and a physician's excuse.

Note:  Dates are approximate; any changes will be announced in class.  The goal is to distrib¬ute the work throughout the semester according to a balanced schedule. Detailed handouts will be given on the assignments; several workshop discussions will be held throughout the semester to encourage student input on these projects and to ensure that you know what is required.

Warning!  Students in MBA courses often have a diverse group of experiences and expertise levels.  Some of you may be experienced marketing managers, who are pursuing the formality of the MBA degree. For others, this may be your first exposure to upper-level marketing concepts and applications.  Finally, the majority will fall somewhere in between.  Given this situation, the class at times may seem to move too slowly, too quickly, or just right. I find that the strength of the MBA program is that we learn from each other, sharing your backgrounds and knowledge. This is your class; please feel free to raise concerns and make suggestions so that we all benefit.

Academic Integrity:  This class will ask you to work independently and in groups. In most cases, you are responsible for preparing your own work and documenting the work of others. Cheating, plagiarism, and other types of misconduct are not acceptable. In addition, today’s information environment has changed. Research is available on the Internet, but many use it without citing it properly? There are many forms of academic dishonesty, ranging from cheating, using the work of others, failing to properly cite sources, and purchasing papers from the Internet. Penalties can include expulsion from the University. “A Policy on Academic Integrity for Undergraduate and Graduate Students for Rutgers University—Camden” was adopted by the Faculty Senate on February 10, 2004, representing both the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business.  You can read specific examples, definitions, and policies, found at this URL:

Rutgers provides a service called “Turnitin” in order to aggressively deal with cheating and improper citations of items taken from other sources. All students in this class must first create a user profile at, and also register for this specific class using the following information: Class ID and Password will be given in class.

Both individual and group written assignments must also be uploaded to by the due date.  You will find a folder within the course for each assignment before it falls due.  Any written assignment that is NOT uploaded to by the student will receive a grade of 0, regardless of whether a hard copy was received or not. checks your written work against its own database of previously submitted work, the entire internet, and the full text library databases.  The purpose is to check for plagiarism.  Even if the system finds a match between some portion of your paper and another source, it is not plagiarism provided that it is appropriately cited.  If you are unsure how to appropriately cite others’ work, please consult any style manual, such as APA, Chicago, etc.  The librarians at the RU Camden library will be happy to help you locate such a manual.

Students whose work is found to be plagiarized will receive, at a minimum, a 0 on the assignment, and possibly an F for the course.  University procedures regarding violations of the honors code will be followed.

Reading Assignments - Linked with In-Class Discussion

Week 1 – Jan. 19th:
Introduction; course overview, turnitin procedure, library reserves, sign up for Roundtables,

CB and Marketing management, read chapter 1 and begin chapter 2
  Topics:  total product concept, market segmentation
  EKB model – taking the model apart, relate to real world examples
  In class:  describe self as a market segment, analyze positioning map 1-3 p. 17
  Begin: Decision making, product recognition and information search using EKB model p. 19

Week 2 – Jan. 26th:
  Continue decision making, Read chapters 2 and 3
  Problem recognition and information search
  Alternative evaluation and choice of products and retailers
What brands do you buy, what attributes are important?
Which retailers do you patronize and why?
Discussion of Roundtables

Week 3 – Feb. 2nd:
  Read chapters 4 and 5
  Consumption and Post-Purchase Behavior
  Begin Psychological Influences on Consumer Behavior - Individual
  Symbolic Consumption, Self-Image, Personality

Week 4 – Feb. 9th
Continue Psychological Influences
Read chapters 6 and 7
Lifestyles and Psychographics – time research
Memory, Learning, and Perception
Roundtable on Consumer Decision Making

Week 5 – Feb. 16th
  Read chapter 8: Motivation, Mood, and Involvement
Go over Midterm Assignment
Roundtable on Perceptions and Advertising

Week 6 – Feb. 23rd
Midterm Assignment – First half of class session
Read chapter 9 – Beliefs, Affect, Attitude, and Intention

Week 7 – March 2nd:
  Read chapters 10 and 11
  Communication and Persuasion
  Begin Sociological (group) influences on Consumer Decision Making
  Cultural Influence: Discuss Hispanic and Asian Studies
  Roundtable on Consumer Learning and Product Failure

Week 8 – Mar 9th
Research Method Workshop

Week 9 – March 23rd
Continue cultural influences
Read chapters 12 and 13
Cross Cultural and Subcultural Segmentation
Roundtable on Lifestyles and Psychographic Segmentation

Week 10 – March 30th
  Read Chapters 14 and 15
  Social Class and Reference Group Influences
  Families and Households
  Roundtable on Subcultural Influences

 Week 11 – April 6th
  Begin Special Topics in Consumer Analysis
  Public Policy and Consumer Advocacy
  The ADA, Color Blindness
  Read Chapter 16
  Roundtable on Reference Group and Spokesperson Selection

Week 12 – April 13th
  Read Chapter 17
  Consumer Behavior and Society
  Roundtable on Household Change and Product Development

Week 13 -  April 20th
Project 2 Due - discussion, presentation of results

Week 14 – April 27th   (LAST CLASS) Review, discussion and integration of ideas


Midterm Assignment and Discussion:  “Current Issues in Consumer Behavior
A Literature Review and Identification of Industry Trends
Due February 23rd  - Course Contribution:  20 points

This assignment simply requires that you examine a cutting edge topic in Consumer Behavior and present your findings in class.  What are academic researchers studying? What do managers and strategists want to know?  What are researchers discussing?  What is a “hot topic” in the field? How can managers make use of this research, its methods, and its findings?

1.  First, take a look at the course readings on the next page. Select a topic that you’d like to learn more about and email it to me for approval by 6 pm on Thursday, Jan. 26th.

2.  Read the reserve article that discusses your topic. Identify 3 additional academic articles/sources of information that can help you to learn about your topic.  Use the library web site to research your topic.

3.   Prepare a short writeup (3-5 pages) discussing your findings. It should contain the following items:

a. A statement of the topic and a discussion of its importance in industry.

b. A short summary of the topic using the reserve article plus the three articles you have chosen.   This should explain why the topic is important, what each article is about, and its implications.

c. A summary section. What do you think? What are the implications for managerial decision making?

d. Be prepared to talk for approximately 5 minutes on what you found on the day that the assignment is due.  Please  do not use Powerpoint for this assignment.

e. Make a handout for each class member that describes the research topic and its potential contribution.

f. A complete and CORRECT bibliographic reference, including the authors' name, title of arti¬cle, source  document, reference volume or year, publisher, pages, etc. If you are citing a source on the Internet, please give me the HTTP or your method of finding the source.

Selected Course Reference Readings

Compulsive Consumption:  Thomas C. O’Guinn and Ronald J. Faber (1989), “Compulsive Buying:  A Phenomenological Exploration,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 16 (September), 147-157.

Consumption Rituals: Wallendorf, Melanie and Eric J. Arnould (1991),  “’We Gather Together’:  Consumption Rituals of Thanksgiving Day,” Journal of Consumer Research, 18 (June), 13-31.

Elderly Consumers:  Linda L. Price, Eric J. Arnould, and Carolyn Folkman Curasi (2000), “Older Consumers’ Disposition of Special Possessions,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 27 (September), 179-201.

Elderly Consumers:   Moschis, George; Curasi, Carolyn; Bellenger, Danny (2004), “Patronage motives of mature consumers in the selection of food and grocery stores”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, 21 (2) 23 – 34.

Gift Giving:  Tina M. Lowrey, Cele C. Otnes, and Julie A. Ruth (2004), “Social Influences on Dyadic Giving over Time:  A Taxonomy from the Giver’s Perspective,” Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 30 (March), 547-558.

Impulsive Purchasing:  Kaufman-Scarborough, Carol and Judy Cohen (2004), “Unfolding Consumption Impulsivity:  An Existential-Phenomenological Study of Consumers With Attention Deficit Disorder”, Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 21(8), 637-669.

Nostalgia:  Holbrook, M.B. and R.M. Schindler (2003), “Nostalgic Bonding: Exploring the Role of Nostalgia in the Consumption Experience,” Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 3 (2), 107-127.

Perception of Color and Web Use: Kaufman-Scarborough, Carol (2001), “Accessible Advertising for Visually-Disabled Persons:  The Case of Color Deficient Consumers,” Journal of Consumer Marketing, Volume 18 (Summer), Number 4, 303-316.

Perception and Scent:  Morrin, Maureen and S. Ratneshwar (2003). “Does It Make Sense to Use Scents to Enhance Brand Memory?” Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 40 (4), 10-25.

Perception and Shape: Wansink, Brian and Koert van Ittersum (2003), “Bottoms Up! The Influence of Elongation on Pouring and Consumption Volume,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 30 (December), 455-463.

Shopping Perceptions:  Brown, Christina L.; Krishna, Aradhna (2004), “The Skeptical Shopper: A Metacognitive Account for the Effects of Default Options on Choice”, Journal of Consumer Research, 31 (3): 529-540.

Subcultural Influences: Kaufman, Carol Felker and Sigfredo Hernandez (1991), "The Role of the Bodega in a U.S. Puerto Rican Community," Journal of Retailing, Volume 67, Number 4 (winter), 375 396.

Subcultural Influences:  Peñaloza, Lisa (1994), "Atravesando Fronteras/Border Crossings: A Critical Ethnographic Exploration of the Consumer Acculturation of Mexican Immigrants," Journal of Consumer Research, 21:1(June)32-54.

Time Perception and Use:  Kaufman, Carol Felker, Paul M. Lane, and Jay D. Lindquist (1991), "Exploring More than 24 Hours a Day:  A Preliminary Investigation of Polychronic Time Use," Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 18, Number 3 (December), 392 401.

Case Discussion

Plus-Size Women: Kaufman-Scarborough, Carol, “Targeting the Plus-Size Woman:  Lane Bryant’s Strategy for Success,” in Berman, Barry and Joel Evans, Great Ideas in Retailing, Prentice Hall, forthcoming, 2007.

Useful Consumer Analysis Websites / How Do Firms Learn about Consumers?

Take a look at these in your spare time – what did you find that applies to our discussions in class?

Background Information on Consumers:

American Demographics:  trends, new products, product history:
            Available through Rutgers library

Business and Industry Database via RU library site:

Food and Brand lab-testing what consumers eat, Prof. Brian Wansink’s site on food research:

Forrester Research: your company may purchase studies here.

Influx Insights: consumer trends,

Know This source for marketers:

Customer Focused Marketing:


Consumer Sources of Information:

My Simon web site:

Consumer Product Companies
Campbell Soup Company Website:

Perdue Farms:


Subaru of America:

Revlon, how do we define beauty?,

Selecting an outlet:



Suppose the outlet’s the same as the brand:

In-Class Roundtables:  In order to keep class discussion interesting, and to draw in your specific expertise, a series of Roundtable discussions are planned which connect class topics to real-life experience.  You will each sign up for one-night’s roundtable, which focuses on selected concepts from the text.  More than one person may sign up for a topic. You should coordinate your work, but your grade is individual. Your job will be to present the questions, lead the class in discussion of the issues, and connect the issues to real-world examples from industry. More importantly, your job is to show how the course concepts and frameworks are useful tools that can be applied in the real world. e a one page handout for the class, plus a 2-3 page write up for me of your goals, your logic, and what you hope to accomplish in your roundtable.

Roundtable Topic and Date

October 4: Roundtable on Consumer Decision Making.  Pick a consumer decision that your household just made. Analyze it in terms of the search, evaluation of alternatives, and purchase.  Did you go through all the steps??  Why or why not? Why would a firm want to know what steps you went through?

October 11:  Roundtable on Perceptions and Advertising: How many ads did you perceive today? Did you remember everything about them? Give examples of ads that you tuned out. How can marketers encourage consumers to pay attention to their messages?

October 25:  Roundtable on Consumer Learning and Product Failure: Consumers learn from product information, purchase, and use. Do consumers always learn everything correctly about products? Do they always follow directions? Describe a product that is successful and a product that is failing due to poor consumer learning. Defend your analysis

 Nov. 8:  Roundtable on Lifestyles and Psychographic Segmentation:  Consider the VALS segments presented on page 182. Go to the VALS website and take the survey. Describe yourself as a VALS segment. How would a firm whose products you buy actually use the VALS information to design products and ads to better meet your needs?

Nov. 15:  Roundtable on Subcultural Influences. Describe a brand or retailer that successfully serves a specific subcultural market and one that you think is a failure in doing so. Defend your analysis.

Nov. 22: Roundtable on Spokesperson Selection. Companies often analyze real persons or attributes that their consumers wish they had. Describe a firm who has made a successful choice and one that has failed. The failure can be a hypothetical example. Defend.

Nov. 29:  Roundtable on Household Change and Service Development:  How have households changed over the past 50 years? Are consumer behavior models and approaches relevant?  Give examples of products and services that “fit” today’s households and of those that fail to meet the realities of household living.

Term Project:  A detailed handout will be given in class.

Rationale:  Focus groups with the MBA population at RU have indicated that there is a real interest in building practical knowledge and insight for use in your own companies.  The course is designed to do just that:  to acquaint you with the types of marketing analysis that is done in corporations, and to provide an opportunity for you to try them out on a real issue.


Consumer Behavior Spring 2006 Information

Name _______________________________________

Best way to reach you:       Tel:   _____________________________________________
                                              Email: ____________________________________________
                                              RU EMAIL:  ________________________________________

 Other Marketing courses taken in the past?

Any Marketing experience or skills?  In which areas of Marketing can you be considered a “Resident  Expert”?  (feel free to brag a little)

What are your goals for this course?  Is there any skill in particular which you would like to acquire?

What do you view as an important consumer research question – for your company, in general, or in an area of your interest?

What would you like to learn in this class? Any specific topics of interest?

How can I make this course relevant to your career goals?

Employment (be as specific as you want): ___________________________________________

Approximate Hours per Week______________________________________________

Who are your company’s customers? _______________________________________

Any expected absences?? ________________________________________________

1.  Preference for Roundtable Dates:  1st choice __________   2nd choice __________  3rd choice __________

2. Suggested group members for Term Project (list up to two OTHER persons):