Stockholders are the owners of the company. They don’t have to turn the lights out and lock up at closing, but you know what we mean. Since there are usually too many shareholders to have anything but chaos in a productive meeting, shareholders aggregate their votes – usually one share gets ya one vote and they elect a board of directors, who then elect a chief executive officer, who then hires and fires employees. At the top of that chain was the ticket you bought, called the share of common stock.
Shareholders also remain the backstop for decisions on major things like a takeover, a major acquisition, or a major change in compensation policy. In fact, corporations are much like little governments where the voters (the shareholders) are the ones who elect and make the laws. The lunatics truly have taken over the asylum.