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How do the effects of cognitive openness and structural openness on the research impact of business scholars vary over their careers? By analysing a longitudinal sample of 35,296 scholars who published in business and management journals, we show that the cognitive openness and the structural openness of business scholars have non-linear relationships with their research impact. In particular, we found that, whereas moderate levels of cognitive openness and structural openness are desirable for increasing young scholars’ citations, a high level of cognitive openness and a low level of structural openness contribute to senior scholars’ citations. This study contributes to our understanding of different search behaviour across business scholars’ career paths and its implications for scholars’ research impact.