Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has developed as one of the most influential rhetorics of our times. Despite an intense on-going debate, little indepth investigation has been conducted on themes such as the role of socioethical orientations in the behaviour of the local firm, and especially of the smallmedium enterprise. In this regard, the article outlines the main results of a qualitative research dealing with CSR practices in an Italian district. The emerging picture displays the many ways in which, within this local area, a set of business organisations act responsibly in domains ranging from human resource management and environmental sustainability to customer service and community care. Above all, the study sheds light on the complexity of the processes by which the selected firms address relevant stakeholders’ needs and make sense of the inclusion of social objectives. In this scenario, the structural mechanisms of planned social performance intertwine with ethical cultures and climates; and well-established and clear-cut routes of responsible conduct coexist with the informal or even tacit (but significant) practices enacted by small business actors.