Re: Read between the lines
As has been said, 'Shareholder Value' can be interpreted in many different ways. In fact, so many that the directors may actually do pretty much whatever they like. After all, you can always argue some sort of shareholder value. So, directors are in reality given almost total freedom to do whatever they like. In return, the shareholder can vote (at AGMs etc.) at regular intervals to change directors etc. if they wish to. One such reason might be that the shareholder does not believe the director is giving shareholder value. That's the risk the director takes in his/her decisions.
So, IBM directors could quite happily not have done this and accepted lower EPS for a quarter and simply said they thought it was right. It is then up to the shareholders to do something about it. They can vote at elections etc. or do things like sell the shares, where if enough do so, the shareprice will fall heavily. Of course, this affects the value of the directors shareholding, which is a primary reason why they don't tend to do anything that could negatively affect the shareprice. Given good shareholder returns will always tend to raise the shareprice as ROI is good/improves.
It has become increasingly common for the employee to be considered a resource and dealt with in a pretty poor way in many companies. However, if you look at history, you soon realise that treating employees badly often results in the company doing rather badly, as has been said in earlier replies. So, now, some more enlightened companies are beginning to realise that treating employees reasonably and doing things like honouring contracts is actually good for the business in the long run, even if the short term is affected. Additionally, more shareholders are realising this as well.
After all IBM and HP (both companies that have treated their employees pretty poorly in the past) are doing so well now? Both seem to be heading downwards rapidly. Even if they can keep shareholder returns good for a few more years, it will come to an end at some point.