In this artaicle, we present an exploratory research on manufacturing firms' choices of operations improvement strategies. We found that in the subject firms there was significant correlation between learning propensity espoused by managers and their choices of strategies for operations improvement. Relying on empirical data and information, we also identified three primary factors that influenced the process for the managers to form particular learning propensities: infrastructure in the firm, product mix, and top management. The empirical study, albeit bearing only exploratory results, enabled us to propose a tentative conclusion that as more managerial resources and managers' attention were devoted to a particular improvement strategy for which the managers formed a learning propensity, that "way of doing things" became more effective as the intentional experience and substantive investment compatible with the selected strategy accumulated. The enhanced effectiveness of that strategy reinforced the learning propensity, and the improvement process became more induced for the selected strategy. (C) 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.