- This paper describes the development of a conceptual model concerning the relationship between the organization and utilization of staff in mental health centers, job satisfaction, and staff retention. In the rural and urban centers visited during the study, differences were found in the patterns of staff organization and utilization and in the meanings of "doing a good job." It is hypothesized that these meanings provide the framework in which staff members interpret their own job performances or, in other words, come to feel satisfied or dissatisfied with their work. It is further suggested that these meanings mediate any direct relationship between satisfaction and retention. This model has implications for future research of rural/urban differences, job satisfaction, and staff retention in mental health centers.