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New book explores complexities of modern workplace, outlines need for human-touch

Published by Penguin India, Divya Khanna's 'The Company We Keep' will be released on ThePrint's Softcover on 24 January.

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New Delhi: At a time when corporate culture is considered turning increasingly toxic and phenomena like quiet quitting and the great resignation are becoming the norm, a new book analyses the complexities of the modern workplace as well as the changing employee and explores the need for better workplace practices. Divya Khanna’s The Company We Keep: Insights into Indian Corporate Culture places the reader squarely in the middle of the Indian business ecosystem, a complex universe of ambition, aspiration, hard work, and the rewards waiting at the end of the tunnel. 

Published by Penguin India, ‘The Company We Keep’ by Divya Khanna will be released on 24 January on Softcover, ThePrint’s online venue to launch non-fiction books. 

The author, with over 16 years of experience in the advertising industry, says at the heart of corporate culture lies diversity. She notes that there are multiple opportunities and ways to advance, even if the system may seem stifling. Adding a human touch, Divya Khanna shares her experiences of burnout leading her to prioritise her mental well being over the so-called corporate agenda of ‘getting ahead’. Furthermore, she demystifies misconceptions surrounding the corporate world, such as its unidimensionality. For instance, India incorporates a wide range of industries and sectors into its corporate setting. 

The author is an alumna of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and has worked with two of India’s largest advertising agencies-Lowe Lintas (now Mullen Lowe) and J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson).

“My aim with this book is to help us understand where we were and how we are evolving, to give us insights to reflect on so we can make more deliberate and informed choices about where we can go from here,” says Khanna. 

Experiences of burnout as well as the Covid-19 pandemic prompted Khanna to investigate her workplace as an individual, as well its place in the grand scheme of things. Throughout the book, she asks relevant questions, exploring how work culture can be made more humane and empathetic, placing the individual at the centre rather than machines and industries. 

Quoting author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – “Culture does not make people. People make culture”, Khanna pushes the reader to rethink and reevaluate their understanding of corporate culture, in hopes of preparing it for the host of challenges currently facing the world . 

Harsh Goenka, chairman of industrial conglomerate RPG Enterprises says, “Divya Khanna’s The Company We Keep will find an important place in the emerging streams of thought and literature that are increasingly becoming the foundation for cultural transition in the post-pandemic era. Addressing the most important questions within organisations, its strength is the rich research base and the discourse with a vast array of people representing reality. Its purposeful narrative reveals the emotional dilemma, the conundrum of aspiration and the everyday battles that pave the path to a successful career.’

Also read: New book aims to make public policy ‘interesting’, equips readers with tools to ask questions


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