'Increasing shareholder value'
The problem is too many people think that equates to short term measures that make the stock price go up. Yes, laying off a bunch of people will help your bottom line and very likely will increase your stock price for a time. But unless you are laying off people who are truly unnecessary, it is going to hurt in some way. Maybe only a little, if you really were overstaffed, or they were involved in a part of the company or product line that is no longer profitable.
But if they were developing your future products, or providing quality support that was the reason you had such loyal customers, then eventually their loss will be felt and the layoff will have turned out to have decreased shareholder value.
The problem is, the CEOs and Wall Street guys know this perfectly well, but don't care. The CEO can "increase shareholder value" and then jump ship to a bigger company with a proven track record of increasing shareholder value, and the company he left doesn't feel the pain until after he's gone. The Wall Street analysts who push for short term strategies like this just want to own the stock for a while, ride the gain, then get out and do it all over again with another company. They don't care about the long term future of the company, and have no incentive to care.
There are unfortunately very few guys like Warren Buffett out there who take a long term view on shareholder value - precisely because he chooses to make investments he can hold for a very long time.