York University
Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies
School of Administrative Studies

Course Syllabus
M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.

AP/ADMS3210 3.0 A 
Consumer Behaviour
Summer S1 2014

I retired as of July 1, 2015 and will no longer be supporting this website
                                           -- Louise Ripley

Updated 07/01/15
Ground Rules Communicating Grades Tests Warranty FAQ

Frequently Used Links
The Six Wednesdays Project
What You'll Need to Complete This Course
Learning Units
Evaluation Summary: Assignments/Tests/Due Dates
Final Exam Substitute Part 6

Your Professor

Course/Professor Information

Calendar Description  Introduces students to the general perspectives currently taken in the study of consumer behaviour. Emphasis is on consumer decision processes and the influence of social, cultural and psychological factors on how consumers behave.       

Prerequisites: 1) For students in an Honours program, AP/ADMS 2200 3.00, or 2) other students, a grade of C+ or better in AP/ADMS 2200 3.00. Course credit exclusion: AP/ADMS 4220 3.00 (prior to Fall 2012).

Course Director: Professor M Louise Ripley, MBA, PhD
Office: Atkinson 268C
EMail: Reach me at: lripley@yorku.ca (not by telephone)
Course Time and Location: Monday and Wednesday afternoons 4:00 - 6:45 p.m., TEL 1004
Course Consultation Hours: Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:30, or by email or email me to set a time
Catalogue Number Z07A01

Organization of the Course

This course is given in the special fast-track S1 Summer Session. We meet twice a week for three hours for six weeks and then we're done; there is no time to waste. Most group work is done in the classroom, with some by electronic means, particularly around Victoria Day. The first group assignment is due on the first Wednesday of the course and each Wednesday after, except for Part 4 which is done as an in-class individual test. When you hand in the sixth assignment, which serves as the Final Exam Substitute, you are done. There is no formal final exam. We meet in a traditional classroom, and I do some formal lecturing at the start of each class, with some class time devoted to in-class work on the project. You will need to expect to do some of the reading and studying on your own as we move quickly through this fast-paced course, noting particularly preparation for the in-class test. We also have a guest speaker, a former student in this class, now working in Marketing. You cannot work alone in this course. If you cannot commit to being here the first night, being in class for most  sessions, and doing your fair share of group work and individual preparation, you should not enrol.

The Course Kit for this course is entirely online, including this Course Syllabus and anything linked from it, and the Learning Units. The web pages are colour coded, each with its own colour. In addition to the ground rules and information about communicating, grades, and tests, there is page of frequently asked questions in courses, and a warranty page that tells you that after completing a course with me you have a life-long invitation to return, either to ask for help or to give it, or just to chat. At the top of this page are links to pages that tell you about my teaching, research, and service, some more about me, a page of important other links, and a general alphabetical index to my website. In each of the Learning Units, designed to help you prepare for class and to take notes, I make use of what I call the Waving Hand Exercises. Don't be put off by this little disembodied hand, waving frantically! It's supposed to represent a student in a classroom waving a hand and saying, "I know! I know!". Think through your answers to these questions and come prepared to class.

This Course Kit/Syllabus is designed as an on-line facility, not to be printed in its entirety.

Read some Testimonials from former students who liked the way this course is taught.

Important Dates and Information
Start Date
May 5, 2014    End Date June 11, 2014
Last Day to Drop Without a Grade May 30, 2014
Last Day to Enrol Without Permission of the Professor May 9, 2014
(Read here why I do not give permission to enrol after this date or in a class that is full)
Student Financial Services
   Academic Fees
   Dates for Withdrawal and Return of Fees

Course Readings and Materials
Solomon Text Book, Edition 6  Solomon, Michael R. et. al. Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, and Being. Sixth Canadian Edition. Toronto: Prentice Hall Canada. ISBN 0-13-121881-6
The publisher also provides an Online Study Guide. There is also an online study guid available. There is a copy of the textbook on  2 hour reserve
in the Peter F. Bronfman Business Library in the Schulich School of Business, Call Number PCOP.1600BG
Warning: Photocopying more than 10% of a textbook is illegal, and may involve penalties. Do not duplicate textbooks or obtain these photocopies. 
Supplementary Reading Regular reading of a good daily newspaper and some of the popular business magazines

Topics and Readings
2 Wednesday May 7

READ Preface & Chapter 1
            Web Materials
Introduction to CB: Buying Having & Being

Due: Part 1

3 Monday May 12

READ Chapter 2
            Web Materials
4 Wednesday May 14

READ Chapter 3
            Web Materials Learning & Memory
Due: Part 2
 Marks posted for Part 2

  5 Monday May 19

Victoria Day - No Classes 
(Work on group project using electronic communication)
carrot and stick  6 Wednesday May 21
READ Chapter 4
            Web Materials Motivation & Affect

Due: Part 3
Marks posted for Part 3
7 Monday May 26
READ Chapter 5
            Web Materials
The Self
8 Wednesday May 28
READ Chapter 6
            Web Materials Personality/Lifestyles/Values

Test: On all material through and including Chapter 5
Part 4 for basis for test)

(Terms you could have discussed)
  9  Monday June 2
READ Chapter 7
            Web Materials
10 Wednesday June 4
READ Chapter 8
            Web Materials
Attitude Change

Guest Speaker: Baijul Shukla, B.A.S. Honours graduate to talk about "the real world"

Due: Part 5

  11 Monday June 9
READ Chapter 13
            Web Materials Social Class

  12 Wednesday June 11
READ Chapter 14
            Textbook Only, Read and come to talk: The Creation and Diffusion of Culture
. This part need not appear in your final assignment. If you're using Edition Five, the chapters are slightly different. Don't worry about it.

Part 6, The Final Part

Getting Started 
What You Will Need To Complete This Course
To be registered: unless you are registered in this section of this course, I cannot grade your work
Regular access to a Yorku.ca student (or York employee) email account: Click here to activate
The Webpage Learning Units prepared by the professor: access these at any time; I use no passwords
Textbook: find this at the York University Bookstore and other places
  Willingness to participate in class discussion; review the Waving Hand Exercises in each week's online materials to prepare for discussion. Note for those who have taken Internet courses with me: there is no online discussion group. Just use these exercises to think about the day's reading and what you might say in class discussion.
Time to spend in class and in email contact with group members for the Final Exam Substitute Project
Contact addresses for possible help:

Academic Integrity:  http://www.yorku.ca/academicintegrity/students/index.htm
Administrative Questions: adms@yorku.ca or your home faculty
Awards:  http://sfs.yorku.ca/aid/index.htm
Computer Help: helpdesk@yorku.ca
Computer PC Help: http://www.helpwithpcs.com/ or http://www.pcguide.com/
Computers better than you own: York
computer labs
Computers, Getting connected: Communications Policy Page
Grade Reappraisal: http://www.yorku.ca/laps/students/reappraisal.html
Internet Basics: http://www.learnthenet.com/english/index.html
Petitions :  http://www.yorku.ca/laps/council/students/petitions.html
Professor, reaching me: lripley@yorku.ca (tell me your name and course number) 
Uploading Assignments at eServices Office: disted@yorku.ca or 416-736-5831
Web page use on Louise's site:
Idiot's Guide to This Web Site
Writing:  http://www.yorku.ca/laps/writ/writing_centre.html

Course Purpose/Learning Objectives

In addition to the basic Learning Objectives that are common to all courses I teach, in this course I want you to develop an appreciation for how the study of Consumer Behaviour can help an organization to compete in the marketplace today. We use Peter Drucker's classic questions:
    Who is our customer?
    What is of value to our customer?
    What business are/will/should we be in?

to help us understand why consumers buy and have the things they do, how these help define who they are, and how knowing all this helps an organization better meet the needs of its consumers.  

The course operates on the edge of an interesting dichotomy. Since everyone has experience being a consumer, it is often tempting to assume that we can generalize from our own experience to understand the behaviour of potential customers, and sometimes we can; one of the best laboratories in which to study consumer behaviour is our own behaviour as consumers. Yet as Marketers, we risk profound misunderstanding if we automatically assume that other people see the world and react to it in the same way we do. One of the major goals of the course is to help students learn to recognize the difference and the balance between these two approaches.

Expanded Course Description

We will examine the behaviour of customers both in general through the study of theory and concepts, and specifically in class discussion through examination of our own behaviour as consumers. In addition, in groups usually of seven, we will study the behaviour of consumers who purchase a particular product; each group will then plan for the introduction of a new product that also will be attractive to those same customers. This term project constitutes each group's assignments and final exam substitute, and an individual test worth 40% of your mark.

A Note About Teamwork

Part of the curriculum of Business education is learning to work in teams; in this course it is crucial. You will need to work to make your groups work. Read here for More About Teamwork.

Evaluation Summary and Description of Assignments

Effective writing is one of the most important skills you can acquire in a university course, and one that you will use in your education, your career and your life; so too is the skill of following instructions. All assignments in all courses I teach require you to write well and to submit work properly. Read carefully the full instructions on this web site on Writing Well for a Better Grade, on References, and on Format For Submitting Work Properly, and check out the Writing Programmes. Do not assume that because you have written papers before you have mastered the art; writing is something we continually work on to improve. For this course particularly, read about Writing in Point Form.

The Six Wednesdays Project
The Six Wednesdays Project constitutes all the work you will hand in for this class. It is all done as group work, except for Part 4 which is an individual in-class test. A good part of the group work is done in the classroom.

Assignment Type
(All Group Work except Part 4 TEST)
% of Grade Due Date
First 15 minutes of class, Wednesday
Assignment 1 0% May 7 See Part 1
Assignment 2 15% May 14 See Part 2
Marks for Part 2
Assignment 3 15% May 21 See Part 3
Marks for Part 3
In-Class Test
40% May 28 See Part 4
Marks for Part 4 Test
Assignment 5 15% June 4 See Part 5
Part 5 and Term Marks
Final Exam Substitute: Assignment 6 15% June 11 See Part 6

NOTE: A student's final course grade is not necessarily confined to a compilation of marks earned on individual course components. Final course grades may be adjusted to conform to Programme or Faculty grades distribution profiles. The average mark in this course is usually a low B.

If you took your required Introductory Marketing prerequisite some time ago and would like a review, click here to view the materials I use to teach Intro on the Internet 

Grading, Assignment Submission, Lateness Penalties and Missed Tests

Grading The grading scheme for the course conforms to the 9-point grading system used in undergraduate programmes at York. For a full description of York grading system see the York University Undergraduate Calendar. Students may take a limited number of courses for degree credit on an ungraded (pass/fail) basis. For full information on this option see Alternative Grading Option and scroll down to "Grading." 

Assignment Submission/Lateness Penalty/Missed Tests: The assignments are due in the classroom in the first 15 minutes of class, on the date listed. With such a fast-moving course it is not possible to give extensions or make-up work. Groups are assigned the first night of class; latecomers will be put into a group together.  

About Your Professor
Louise Ripley
I'm your professor, Louise Ripley. Call me "Louise". My office is 268C Atkinson. Find where to reach me on my Home page. Email me; I don't answer my phone but I'm always on the email.

I am a Professor of Marketing and in Women's Studies. For many years, I supervised graduate students in Environmental Studies but am now restricting my cross-appoinment to only two Schools. I earned a PhD in Management Studies (major in Marketing) from University of Toronto, an MBA in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago, and a Bachelor's degree from Shimer, one of the world's finest (and smallest) liberal arts undergraduate schools. I worked in Finance and Marketing Research in Chicago and have taught at York for more than thirty years. Click here to read more about me professionally and personally. 

Consumer Behaviour is one of my favourite courses to teach because it's all the stuff that fascinated me in my own undergraduate education. It borrows heavily from psychology, sociology, anthropology and other people-related disciplines as we try to understand why human beings buy and keep and discard products. 


Academic Honesty and Integrity York students are required to maintain high standards of academic integrity and are subject to the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty. By staying in this course, you agree to abide by these rules. Students should also review materials on the Academic Integrity Website.

I expect that all work submitted by individuals or groups is the work of only that individual or group, for only this course, not having been done for any other course in any way, by the current members or any one else. You are welcome to talk with anyone you like while preparing for any part of this course, but what you put together and hand in must be your own work and original to this course. Violation of these premises is grounds for prosecution under the rules of the Faculty and the University. 

Read here York's new booklet, "Beware! Says Who? Avoiding Plagiarism"

Accommodation Procedures:

Deferred Standing: I do not give permission to defer work. If you feel you must defer work, you must petition. See School Policy on Deferred Exams.
Students with Special Needs
York University is committed to making reasonable accommodations and adaptations in order to make equitable the educational experience of students with special needs and to promote their full integration into the campus community. If you require special accommodations, alert the Course Director as soon as possible. Failure to notify the course director of your needs in a timely manner may jeopardize the opportunity to arrange for academic accommodation. Visit the Counselling Centre for more information.

Ethics Review Process York students are subject to the York University Policy for the Ethics Review Process for Research Involving Human Participants. In particular, students proposing to undertake research which involves human subjects such as interviewing the director of a company or government agency or having people complete a questionnaire, are required to submit an Application for Ethical Approval of Research Involving Human Participants at least one month before you plan to begin the research. If you are in doubt as to whether this requirement applies to you, contact your Course Director immediately.

Grade Component Deadline
The course assignment structure and grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) must be announced and be available in writing to students within the first two weeks of classes. Please see Evaluation Summary.

Graded Feedback Rule
Under normal circumstances, students should receive some graded feedback worth at least 15% per cent of the final grade for Fall, Winter or Summer term, and 30% for full-year courses in the Fall/Winter term prior to the final date for withdrawal from a course without receiving a grade, with the following exceptions:

  • graduate or upper level undergraduate courses where course work typically, or at the instructor's discretion, consists of a single piece of work and/or is based predominantly or solely on student presentations;
  • practicum courses;
  • ungraded courses;
  • courses in Faculties where the drop date occurs within the first three weeks of classes;
  • courses which run on a compressed schedule, e.g.: a course which accomplishes its academic credits of work at a rate of one credit hour per two calendar weeks or faster.

Note: Under unusual and/or unforeseeable circumstances which disrupt the academic norm, instructors are expected to provide grading schemes and academic feedback in the spirit of these regulations as soon as possible.

For reappraisal procedures and information, see

Religious Observance Days York University is committed to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community and making accommodations for observances of special significance to adherents. Should any of the dates specified in this syllabus for in-class test or examination, or for any scheduled lab, practicum, workshop or other assignment pose a conflict for you, contact the Course Director within the first three weeks of class and obviously before the date that is a problem; you cannot do this after-the-fact. To arrange an alternative date or time for an examination scheduled in the formal examination periods (December and April/May), students must complete an Online Examination Accommodation Form or pick one up from the Student Client Services in the Student Services Centre.

Student Conduct Students and instructors are expected to maintain a professional relationship characterized by courtesy and mutual respect and to refrain from actions disruptive to such a relationship. It is the responsibility of the instructor to maintain an appropriate academic atmosphere in the classroom, and the responsibility of the student to cooperate in that endeavour. The instructor is the best person to decide, in the first instance, whether such an atmosphere is present in the class. Read the full Policy on Disruptive and/or Harassing Behaviour.

Twenty Percent (20%) Rule No examination or test worth more than 20% of the final grade will be given during the last two weeks of classes in a term, with the exception of classes which regularly meet Friday evenings or any time on Saturday or Sunday.

Questions? Try:
Comprehensive Index to the website
Home Page Search Engine
Teaching Policies links
Links to Other Information at the Top of this Page
email me: lripley@yorku.ca 

AP/ADMS3210 3.0 Consumer Behaviour
York University, Toronto
M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.