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This article aims to elucidate the alteration to managerial forms in industrial enterprises in Petrograd and workers’ reactions to it during the Russian Civil War, 1918-1921. After the October Revolution a far-reaching effort was made to extend workers’ representation in the administration of industrial enterprises. Virtually all workers shared the desire to replace a managerial structure based on authoritarianism with one in which workers participated in administration. Both the Bolshevik party leadership and the trade unions backed this aspiration in principle. However, such an attempt turned out to be more or less unsuccessful. In practice, the workers’ effort to participate in administration ended up with a juxtaposition of plural authorities: the old administration, factory committee, workers’ management, a commissar despatched by the government. 1918-1919 saw not the gradual transition to democratic administration but the “multi-power” in a single factory. The year 1920 saw the introduction of one-person management in Russia’s factories. Following the Ninth Congress of the Communist Party and the Third All-Russia Congress of Trade Unions, the trade unions vigorously instituted one-person management. How are we to explain this sudden volte-face? First, it reflects the obedience of these ostensibly workers’ organisations to Party and union discipline. It was also made easier by the fact that one-person management was already prior to the spring of 1920 much more widespread in Petrograd than is generally assumed. Such a fact implies that that in 1920 there would be a likelihood of far less fierce resistance against the resolution of both Congresses to introduce one-person management at least in Petrograd. And the continued adherence of trade unions to collegial management reflected a desire not to give up what was often already very tenuous union influence in the collegial boards of management. Defence of collegial management and resistance to one-person management was more about determination to retain a voice in the general administration of industry than about defence of the democratic principle of direct worker involvement in the management of industry. The smooth introduction of one-person management in industrial enterprises required the acquiescence of factory committees. Judging from available materials, factory committees were surprisingly neutral by 1920, showing neither antipathy to one-person management nor strong advocacy of collegial management. The attitude of the rank-and-file workers towards one-person management was not very different from that of the factory committees. It seems that they also were more or less indifferent to alteration to the forms of administration. How can we explain the relative indifference of factory committees and rank-and-file workers to the introduction of one-person management in factories? The hope that workers’ administration would be prove to be a school of management turned out to be baseless, since workers’ representatives in administration were often only able to cope with insignificant responsibilities. Moreover, collegial management did not necessarily guarantee the interests of workers. In the nadir of the economic dislocation a growing number of the workers seemed to become tired of multi-power and to reassess their view of the significance of knowledge and experience to effective industrial administration. Collegial management failed to guarantee the economic and social needs of workers, which undercut the resistance that they might once have felt to the reintroduction of one-person management.