When you purchase a share of stock in a company, you are buying into more than just the belief that capital gains will be earned over time. Each share represents a stake in the company itself. From time to time, issues crop up at these major companies that require shareholder input, and this is when your share of the pie really becomes important.

Shareholders of Transocean (NYSE:RIG) should be busy this weekend reading up on how the two proposed dividends could affect the company financially and about the backgrounds of the nominees to the Board of Directors. Each of these decisions will likely weigh heavily on the future outlook of Transocean which resides in a competitive and growing industry. 

What makes this particular vote especially important is the fact that an activist shareholder is involved. Carl Icahn has been calling for a dividend that is 79% higher than the $2.24 per share the company has indicated it wants to pay. Management believes that Icahn has his sights set on short-term gains, and the $4 per share that he is looking for would leave the company in a tight spot. Check out the video below for more details on the importance of being an engaged shareholder.

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Ensco. The Motley Fool recommends Seadrill. The Motley Fool owns shares of Seadrill and Transocean. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.