Purpose The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the existing literature by providing insights about how employees make attributions about the reasons why management adopts HRM practices based on a case study of a company in Turkey. Design/methodology/approach The case study was carried out through semi-structured interviews with multiple employee groups aimed at capturing a broad range of perspectives. The data were processed by way of categorical and frequency analyses, which are forms of content analysis. Findings Non-managerial employees make similar attributions regarding recruitment and selection, training, performance as well as career development and benefits. Research limitations/implications Acknowledging different views regarding the changing nature of employees' attributions, qualitative longitudinal research would provide more rigorous analysis in terms of ascertaining whether there are any alterations in employees' attitudes towards HRM practices over time. Practical implications Management and practitioners can draw valuable insights from the fact that when the meanings attached to HR practices by different employee groups are agreed upon, this may lead to their more enthusiastic involvement with these practices. Originality/value This study examines employees' attributions regarding HR practices through a case study. It provides evidence that when employees ascribe positive meanings to such practices, they are more committed to them and this may promote more favourable outcomes regarding HR efforts.