The topic of ICT-enabled organizational change has been a focus of attention in information systems (IS) research for decades. Besson and Rowe (J Strateg Inf Syst 21:103-124, 2012 ), however, have identified a lack of description and conceptualization of the transformation process in the main stream of IS research. This paper discusses key IS paradigms in some of the content of commonly and available well established IS academic text books and research so that it can then be more obvious in how they address the transformation process. We therefore highlight original differences between two dominant IS paradigms and we consider that the distinction between IS as a data processing system and IS as a human activity system provides a frame of reference to explain the reasons why the gaps in understanding the transformation process continue to be relevant issues to explore in IS research. We also extend the debate as to how IS as a discipline should provide guidance on the process and practice of organizational change in order to prepare students to keep up with the complexity and requirements of real world businesses.