Spatial-temporal dynamics of social value: Lessons learnt from two UK nuclear decommissioning case studies

Cara Mulholland, Obuks Ejohwomu, Paul Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, the concept of social value in construction has seen increasing policy, practice and research interest. In part, this interest stems from growing recognition that construction projects, and especially megaprojects, can create huge social impacts. Although many studies have focussed on defining and developing measures for quantifying social value, qualitative meanings and interpretations of these measures are relatively under-examined. In this paper, two instrumental case studies of infrastructure megaprojects in nuclear decommissioning are analysed to investigate the process of meaning-making of social value. Lessons are drawn from taking a more qualitative, dynamic and processual approach. The findings highlight the limitations of reductionism in existing quantitative measures and emphasise the importance of time and place in understanding the ever-changing idea (and ideals) of delivering social value. Social value is thus a condition of, and conditioned by, ongoing negotiations throughout the lifecycle. Adding to social value research that is dominated by quantitative studies, the nuances highlighted in the case studies show the need to move beyond static measures at a point in time to consider the ongoing and never-ceasing process of transforming social value in construction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117677
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Construction sustainability
  • Megaprojects
  • Nuclear decommissioning
  • Social value
  • Transformation


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