Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) continues to be in an extreme action state.

The company conducted its annual meeting late last week, after we had passed along information on a couple of major Dow financings, plus news of its participation in a new project in China. During the meeting, Dow shareholders decided to flex their muscles a little bit.

At a time when the fortunes of their own company appear to be brightening -- some would say amazingly -- shareholders of Dow Chemical, by an ultra-skinny 50.1% positive vote, have joined their peers at other big companies like Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in adopting a shareholder "say on pay" measure.

Similar "say on pay" measures have been turned down at companies like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT). And while the measure doesn't give stockholders real authority to set executives' compensation, it does allow them an annual opinion on the levels of pay being doled out. Even though CEO Andrew Liveris' 2008 pay had already been reduced by nearly two million dollars from 2007, he may be in line for more reductions in the future if shareholders aren’t happy with his continued performance.

But the owners of Dow didn't stop by invoking "say on pay." By a 58% vote, they also authorized a nonbinding proposal that would permit representatives of 10% of the shares to call special meetings to vote on significant matters affecting the company.

These shareholder measures notwithstanding, Dow is improving its lot at warp speed. After overloading his balance sheet to complete an acquisition of Rohm & Haas, the company has trimmed a portion of those excesses through debt and equity offerings and recently signed on with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A), to build a new refinery in Guangdong province, China.

Monday, in easily the most promising move of all, Dow announced that it'll raise its prices by three or four cents per pound on a couple of its key products. The products -- acrylic monomers and vinyl acetate -- are used in a host of goods, including clothes and glues. Pleased investors sent shares up 7% on what could be a possible sign that economic spring is arriving. Indeed, the CEO of chemical maker Celanese (NYSE:CE) said as much last week.

Given my strong feelings that shareholders deserve at least one hand on the till of most big companies these days, I'm actually in favor of the votes at Dow. Nevertheless, I think it's clear that Liveris and his crew have done a superb job of navigating their company through some rough waters. For that reason, I'd advise Fools to keep a close eye on Dow's future course.  

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does, however, welcome your questions or comments. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.