Broker-client relationship in Algerian soft commodities market

Reda Rebbah, Ahmed Beloucif

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Purpose of the paper
In Algeria, brokerage firms of soft commodities (Wheat, oils, milk powder, rice, coffee, etc…) are actually operating in a niche market within an environment of intense competition and highly demanding customers. Increasingly, relationship marketing strategies are becoming vital for such firms in order to secure a competitive advantage. As soft commodities are raw materials with few standardized specifications, the striking success of the brokerage function, in a great deal of situations, depends on the close relationship formed between the actors (Broker, seller and a buyer).

As brokers, intermediaries and /or agents, act between a buyer and a supplier, they bring together suppliers and buyers. Thus, brokers ensure a good and smooth execution of the contract. i.e., finding the required goods and at an appropriate price for their clients. Therefore, this paper explores the relationship between brokers and their clients in the Algerian soft commodities market. Driven by this aim, this study also attempts to develop a “conceptual framework of relationship development” specific to soft commodities market.

Given the complex nature of the study, a phenomenological approach is used to explore lived experiences, i.e., an in-depth understanding and insight into the brokerage relationship. As one researcher is a broker himself with years of experience in the industry, a participant observation with clients is also adopted. Thus, an interview guide is designed for face-to-face interviews and a diary is used as a record for participants’ observation. For the collected data (interviews) are recorded, transcribed and analysed using a thematical method.

This study presents its preliminary results for discussion and examines further exploration of the phenomenon under investigation. This new and growing market has attracted international/global brokerage firms and suppliers. This market presents countless opportunities but, at the same time, exposes small local brokerage firms to real threats.

A number of strategies used by soft commodities brokerage firms are highlighted and discussed such as criteria of selection, lack of loyalties, and preference to using foreign firms. In order to recruit new clients and keep existing ones, a set of strategies are written and a framework guide for soft commodities brokers is developed and recommended.

Research limitations Implications
A number of limitations are worth noting. As the data is gathered in three languages (English, French and Arabic), researchers have to use their languages’ skills to switch between them and focus on the subject in the interview guide without losing meanings in the clients’ responses. Although, the study is to explore the relationship between broker and client, it would have given a better insight if the suppliers, who interact with clients, provide their views. This study is examined from a client relationship perspective. Consequently, the study focuses on a dyadic relationship between brokers and their clients without involving the suppliers of soft commodities.

Originality/value of paper
As first of its nature in soft commodities in North Africa, this study is believed to a theoretical contribution to fill the gap in the body of the literature by providing a better understanding of B2B relationship development in soft commodities market. From practitioners’ side, it helps to develop marketing strategies for the brokers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019
Event Centre for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development 4th Annual Conference - Universitt of the West of Scotland, Paisley, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Aug 201930 Aug 2019


Conference Centre for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development 4th Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleCAREED 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Soft commodities
  • Broker
  • Algeria
  • B2B
  • Relationship quality


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