New Consumer Behaviour Textbook Demonstrates Why Care and Social Justice Matter in Marketing

As a leader in open education, instructor Andrea Niosi in the Faculty of Entrepreneurial Leadership at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) has been advocating for and developing open education for some time. One of her latest projects is now published in the BCcampus Open Textbook Collection: Introduction to Consumer Behaviour. This new textbook fills an important gap in available open educational resources (OERs) for marketing and business programs in B.C. and beyond. With financial support from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and BCcampus, and as part of the zero textbook cost (ZTC) initiative for business programs, Andrea authored an OER that takes a less conventional look at consumer behaviour and closely examines the relationship between marketing and culture.

“Consumer behaviour examines the perceptions, motivations, attitudes, and behaviours of consumers in various purchasing and decision-making contexts. This project intends to demonstrate to business students that marketing is a responsibility that should be done with care and consideration.”

— Andrea Niosi, instructor, KPU

What You Will Find Inside

Much of the content and theories adapted to consumer behaviour are rooted in psychology, anthropology, and sociology. The content highlights social justice themes that pertain to advertising and marketing, including:

  • sustainable and responsible consumption, production, and disposal options
  • anti-consumerism, materialism, and compulsive consumption
  • racial and gender stereotyping
  • unethical and manipulative marketing practices such as green/pink washing and cultural appropriation

This OER aims to identify how marketers who engage without purposeful care and consideration can perpetuate harm by misrepresenting consumers and negatively influencing culture as a whole. It invites readers to consider how they can become the next generation of marketers who flourish in their profession while engaging responsibly. The textbook goes beyond cost savings for students; it is an opportunity for students to approach the field of marketing with a critical lens.

Student Voice and Care

This OER represents a true commitment to incorporating student voices and to telling the stories that are so often overlooked in mainstream marketing educational resources. By engaging students in several open pedagogy initiatives, Andrea developed the textbook into the ideal platform to not just create, curate, and consume content but to also co-author it with students. Open pedagogy practices enabled students to engage with the course materials in a way that reflected their own lived experiences and interests. Student-created materials, such as the “op-ed” style essays, made space for student voices and relevant contextualization of the book’s many concepts.

In addition, each chapter includes a glossary of key terms and chapter reflections that contain links, examples, and suggestions for continued learning and exploration.

“Andrea cares deeply about providing students with resources that are inclusive, accessible, and relevant. She has integrated the OER into her teaching to gather feedback and contributions from students. From the very beginning, Andrea was intentional in putting together an OER that would centre the lived experiences of today’s consumers – students – while also making efforts to decentre Western dominant cultural perspectives wherever possible. It has been inspiring to see her focus on applying open pedagogy and creating something truly meaningful and useful for students.”

— Melanie Meyers, project manager, BCcampus

One common barrier to open textbook adoption is that instructors are looking for ancillary or support materials to accompany the textbook. In answer to this, Andrea developed question banks to accompany each chapter as well as a series of essays, case studies, and reflection questions.

What’s Next?

Andrea’s amazing work for consumer behaviour does not end here. This year she plans to work with students to create an anthology that captures their experiences as consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic as a supplement to the textbook. 

The Student Anthology: Consumer Behaviour during Pandemic Times will be an OER for students, by students, and will feature a range of consumer experiences reflecting what life has been like as a consumer during the pandemic. As a sort of ‘legacy’ project, this will give students an opportunity to contextualize concepts in the course while reflecting deeply on how their lives have changed as both consumers and citizens.”

— Andrea Niosi, instructor, KPU

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