There is a growing policy focus in Australian higher education on quantitative research performance assessment. However, most of the analysis has addressed aggregate performance at the institutional level, an approach inconsistent with recent policy emphasis on diversity among universities and one that ignores performance variations across disciplines. Using averaged and all available data for 2000–2004, cluster analysis is used to classify Australian Commerce Faculties into groups that exhibit similar research performance, measured by publication, PhD completion and secured competitive research grant funding. We also use factor analysis to generate full-multi dimensional rankings within the resulting two or three clusters. It is found that in terms of total research output, with the exception of Adelaide all the Group of 8 (Go8) members plus University of Technology, Sydney and Griffith always belong to ‘Clusters A’. However, when research performance is expressed in per academic staff terms, an additional 11 universities join this same cluster. Our results additionally show that eight Australian faculties of Commerce not only possess low total research output but their per capita performance is also poor.