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Creating social value within the delivery of construction projects: the role of lean approach© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present the current knowledge surrounding social value (SV) and show how lean approach supports SV realisation in the delivery of construction projects. Design/methodology/approach: A critical literature review was adopted, to gather the current knowledge surrounding SV from mainstream management sciences, construction management and lean literature. A total of 70 studies were critically reviewed. Findings: The study establishes that the current level of awareness on SV is still low and there is a dearth of scholarly publications on SV especially in the construction management literature. The investigation reveals the potentials of lean approach in supporting the delivery of SV on construction projects. Social implications: This study conceptualises the community and the physical environment around where the construction project is executed as customers using lean production approach. It shows that the transformation, flow and value view supports smooth workflow, which enhances the achievement of SV objectives. This creates a new insight into how SV can be realised in construction project delivery. Originality/value: This study extends the on-going debate around the need for SV in construction project delivery and contributes to construction management and lean construction literature on SV. Future studies could build on this to obtain empirical data and develop an approach/method that would support the evidencing of SV delivery on construction projects.