PhD Candidate

MPhil (University of Cambridge)

Year of entry



Dr Thomas Roulet and Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville


Organisational Theory and Information Systems

Jonas Spengler.

Research topic

Making Heaven a Place on Earth: Utopianism and Organisation Studies


Our world is being rocked by grand challenges, be it climate change, wars, global pandemics, or poverty. For many of these challenges, there is no tech fix. They are systemically routed in how our societies are organised: climate change is linked to our obsession with economic growth, companies are not built to act responsibly, and capitalism thrives on inequality. Because of this, we need to fundamentally rethink how we live, labour, and love together.

Jonas Spengler’s research supports efforts at rethinking social life by studying how organisations and communities create ‘real utopias’ – i.e., how they establish alternative forms of organising at the fringes of society. Through ethnographically embedding with real utopias, he seeks to understand the challenges and solutions that one encounters when putting dreams into practice. His research is fully supported by the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship and the Cambridge Trust International Scholarship (honorary).

Jonas holds a Master of Philosophy (Dist.) in Innovation, Strategy & Organisation from the University of Cambridge and a BA (Summa Cum Laude) in Liberal Arts & Sciences from University College Maastricht.

Prior to his PhD studies, Jonas worked as a management consultant for Metaplan GmbH where he facilitated organisational change in numerous organisations, from NGOs to multi-national corporations.

Research interests

Grand challenges; utopias; meaningful work; ethnography.

Jonas Spengler is a member of the Organisational Theory and Information Systems subject group.

Publications and papers

Howard-Grenville, J. and Spengler, J. (2022) “Surfing the grand challenges wave in management scholarship: how did we get here, where are we now, and what’s next?” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 79: 279-295 (DOI: 10.1108/S0733-558X20220000079025)

Contact details

Jonas Spengler
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG

[email protected]