About this minor
Making Choices that Maximize Happiness. Choices are an essential part of our life. Being able to choose facilitates human flourishing. Yet, how to make choices that make us happy often remains elusive.
Take a look at the video and learn more about this minor.
In this minor, we will deconstruct choice and why it matters so much. You will be able to leverage these insights to make life more pleasant, meaningful, or interesting.
Choices ranging from the mundane to the profound are essential to our daily life. Given the proliferation of digital technologies and consumption in all spheres of life, we make more choices than ever before. Just consider how many choices you already made today before you started reading this course description. At a more fundamental level, being able to decide for ourselves can provide a sense of control and autonomy that is essential to well-being and human flourishing. Yet how to make choices that bring us happiness, provide purpose, and allow us to enhance our quality of life and well-being often remains elusive.
In this course, we will deconstruct choice and why it matters so much. The minor explores whether there ever can be too much choice and the myriad influences that context has on our decisions and choices. This minor covers a wide range of decision contexts ranging from life-changing personal decisions (e.g., should I pursue my passion) to mundane everyday consumption decisions (e.g., what to buy for lunch). At the end of the course, you will be able to leverage these insights to make better choices for the good of yourself and others.
Understanding and overcoming our own biases and shortcomings in choice may not only increase happiness but also can facilitate being a force for positive change. At a more personal level, the Art of Choosing is designed to help every single course participant reflect on what “the good life,” i.e., a life well-lived, means to you. During the course, we will examine different perspectives ranging from the good life as happy, meaningful, and to the psychologically rich life. In the words of Aristotle, “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” This minor will equip you with frameworks and tools to craft and curate compelling customer experiences that facilitate better choices for consumers and firms alike.
- Understand how choices influence different forms of happiness
- Identify and analyze relevant situational influences that might shape choice
- Engage in critical self-reflection about your own decisions
- Learn how we can make better choices for ourselves and others
- Evaluate various approaches to curate choice sets that create value for consumers and firms
Teaching method and examination
- Classroom teaching
- Case discussions
- Guest speakers (examples from 2021 and 2022 include Carolien de Bie:, franziska raffaël, Christoph Drebes, co-founder & CEO @ Mystery Minds, and Marco Wendt,
- Business Leader La Roche Posay, L'Oréal Germany)
Some sessions might be virtual (e.g., some guest speaker sessions or feedback sessions).
- Academic articles (others & my own)
- Articles from the popular & managerial press
- Chernev et al. (2015), "Choice Overload: A Conceptual Review and Meta-Analysis," Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25 (2), 333-58. [Module 1]
- Bhattacharjee & Mogilner (2014), "Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences," Journal of Consumer Research, 41 (1), 1-17. [Module 4]
- Liu et al. (2019), "A Framework for Understanding Consumer Choices for Others," Journal of Consumer Research, 46 (3), 407-34. [Module 8]
The 2021 course manual is available on request.
Method of examination
- Individual assignment: written test with open-ended questions (60 %)
Examples of questions will be discussed in class. There will be a resit opportunity for this assignment.
- Individual assignment: choice tracker a self-reflection diary (10 %)
Students will track their own (daily) choices and resulting happiness by completing scales and questions related to the frameworks and concepts covered in the minor.
- Group assignment: deconstructing life-altering decisions (30%) Students will create an essay based on the life-altering or difficult decisions of 2-3 alumni, managers, and or people they consider inspirational. Students will interview respondents leveraging the materials and concepts covered in the course (e.g., “what was the most difficult decision you ever made in your life?”, “which (important) decision do you still contemplate long after the fact?”).
Composition final grade
70% individual assignments
30% group assignment
To be eligible to obtain a final grade, your written test grade needs to be at least 4.5.
Good to know
The minor is taught in English (including examination and group assignments).
No prior knowledge is required, but curiosity and the willingness to contribute to the classroom are strongly encouraged.
- CreditsECTS 15
- Selection minorNo