YSS-31806 Consumer, Technology and Innovation


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work10
Course coordinator(s)ir. CAA Butijn
Lecturer(s)J House
ir. CAA Butijn
dr. ir. LPA Steenbekkers
dr. J van Berkel
dr. JAC van Ophem
Examiner(s)ir. CAA Butijn

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

YSS-33306 Advanced Consumer Studies, M.Sc. thesis COM, ECH, SCH, FQD


This course addresses the interfaces between consumers and technology. In the course we unravel how the use of technologies affects consumption and how consumers through their everyday conduct affect technologies and material outcomes. We perceive consumption as consisting of practices in which both material (such as technologies) and human (such as values, norms and habits) aspects come together. Furthermore, we consider the household as a primary locus of consumption. Together material and immaterial aspects lead to consumer services (output), such as a meal, a clean laundry or an improved health. We also consider undesired side-effects (side-put) such as health risks and pollution. In order to understand the making of such outputs and side-puts, an understanding of the interrelatedness of material and human factors is considered crucial.
Innovation and change in consumption practices are important themes within this course. To understand change, again an integrated perspective on human and material factors is essential. We approach the integrative perspective from different angles, namely, a user perspective relating to economics, sociology and psychology. Technological innovation may propel change, but also the way in which humans value and use existing technologies can lead to changes. The adoption of technological innovations needs to be understood within the socio-economic context, but also in the life course of consumers. Innovations may have great consequences for sustainability, health and safety. With the same integrated approach, in which attention for material factors is combined with human factors, we also address quality issues of technology and technology assessments. With respect to consumer technological research applied research and assessment models will be discussed, hailing from both the natural and the social sciences.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain consumption practices as consisting of both human and material factors;
- explain the dynamics behind differences in adoption of technology and innovations;
- interpret the household as a primary locus of consumption;
- analyse the interaction between human and material factors in consumption practices;
- evaluate the effects of consumption practices in the household to health and the environment;
- assess consumer perspectives in a specific domain of consumption;
- design and execute a research from a consumer perspective investigating a specific set of consumption practices in the household, in which both human and material factors are distinguished.


- lectures;
- group work;
- tutorials;
- assignments.


- written with open and/or closed questions (50%);
- group paper (50%).
Both components require a minimum of 5.50.


A reader will be available at the start of the course.

Compulsory for: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScB: Consumer Studies5MO
Restricted Optional for: MFQFood Quality ManagementMScC: User-Oriented Food Quality5MO